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Feature Auction
CNG Feature Auction 117

Lot nuber 397

LOCAL ISSUES, Uncertain. Circa 1st century BC or slightly later. AV Double Dinar (26mm, 13.46 g, 12h). Local weight standard issue.


CNG Feature Auction 117
Lot: 397.

Closing Date: May 20 2021 11:00 ET

Central Asian featuring The Archytas Collection, Gold

Estimate: $ 3 000

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LOCAL ISSUES, Uncertain. Circa 1st century BC or slightly later. AV Double Dinar (26mm, 13.46 g, 12h). Local weight standard issue. Zeus Nikephoros seated slightly left; pseudo-legend and monograms around / Male driving oxen left; below, additional pair of oxen left; above, facing half-length bust with arms raised in benedictional gesture, or holding uncertain objects (possibly grain ears); pseudo-legend around. Unpublished in the standard references. Evidence of prior mounting. VF. A highly interesting piece.

Ex Gorny & Mosch 121 (10 March 2003), lot 284.

This coin raises a number of challenges toward a more specific attribution. The weight of of 13.46g may represent an unknown local weight approaching a Baktrian double stater or Kushan double dinar (each of which would be 16.00g theoretical full weight). Based on the obverse figure of enthroned Zeus, it appears to have derived its model from the coinage of the later Indo-Greeks (for a comparison, see the posthumous coinage of Hermaios struck by the Indo-Skythians). Unlike that coinage, however, the figure here is holding an eagle in his right hand, which is reminiscent of the Tarsan issues of Mazaios (361/0-334 BC), or the plentiful coinage of Alexander III of Macedon. It is possible that these Greek issues continued to circulate alongside contemporary Indo-Greek coins in Central Asia long after they were struck, thereby forming the basis for such a hybrid obverse. The reverse is more of a mystery, with no known issue providing the exact model of the design. While the man driving oxen is reminiscent of pomerium issues for the founding of provincial cities in the Greco-Roman world, there is nothing like it known on the coinage of Central Asia. Furthermore, the enigmatic bust above, raising both hands in a benedictional gesture, or holding uncertain objects (possibly grain ears), suggests a local version of a grain/agricultural deity. A truly enigmatic piece.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 117 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 19-20 May 2021. This lot is in Session 2, which begins 19 May 2021 at 2 PM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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