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Electronic Auction 518

Lot nuber 181

WESTERN ASIA MINOR, Uncertain. 5th century BC. AR Hemiobol(?) (8mm, 0.41 g, 3h).

Electronic Auction 518
Lot: 181.
 Estimated: $ 150

Greek, Silver

Sold For $ 600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

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WESTERN ASIA MINOR, Uncertain. 5th century BC. AR Hemiobol(?) (8mm, 0.41 g, 3h). Head of horse right; ΔHMH-TP around / Head of nymph right within incuse square. Cf. AMNG III/2, p. 146, 14 (oktobol; 'Thraco-Macedonian dynast Demetrios'); cf. Gorny & Mosch 228, 62 (diobol; 'uncertain Thracian dynast Demetrios'); Leu Numismatik Web Auction 13, lot 301 corr. var. (longer ethnic: ΔHMH-TPIO). Light porosity. VF. Very rare.

The first instance of this small fraction appeared as lot 15 in Pecunem 30 (Gitbud & Naumann, 5 April 2015), though the state of preservation of that example was such that the legend was not clear. The clearest example appeared as lot 301 in Leu Numismatik Web Auction 13 (15 August 2020), though the legend was erroneously transcribed there as ΔHMHTPIΩ, rather than ΔHMHTPIO, though this was corrected in their subsequent Web Auction 17, lot 1016. As noted by the cataloger of the Leu 17 piece, these fractions must be associated with the two larger denominations in AMNG III and Gorny & Mosch 228, where they were attributed to a heretofore unknown Thraco-Macedonian dynast named Demetrios. This attribution was based on the argument of F. Imhoof-Blumer in AMNG, who discounted the possibility of the legend being an ethnic, but his contention that a legend ending on O, rather than Ω, suggests a person, rather than a place, is invalid when considering a coin of the 5th century, as the cataloger of the Leu 17 piece noted.

The Leu cataloger further notes that "such a decidedly Macedonian name would not to be expected in pre-Hellenistic Asia Minor...." However, there are instances of the name Demetrios occurring on pre-Hellenistic issues in Asia Minor: Ephesos, circa 404-390 BC (cf. Coin Hoards IX, p. 103, 33); Samos, circa 404-385 BC (cf. Coin Hoards IX, p. 107, 24); Prokonnesos, circa 387-362 BC (cf. BMC 4); Leukai, circa 380-360 BC (cf. Traité II 2044); Klazomenai, circa 370-360 BC (cf. SNG von Aulock 1996); and Teos, circa 365-330 BC (cf. Kinns 77). Of course, all of these occur as magistrate names, which is unlikely for such an early coinage, but the possibility exists, particularly if they were minted closer to the end of the 5th century.

In any case, Leu 13 and 17 attributed the coins to a place named Demetreion in Aeolis. They argue that the origin of the pieces on the market suggest a mint in Asia Minor, and of the two recorded places that were possibly named Demetreion in Asia Minor, in Bithynia and Aeolis, respectively, only the latter seems reasonable. While that may be, their argument against the mint being the well attested Demetreion in Phthiotis (Thessaly) is partly based on that town not appearing in the literature until the mid-fourth century, certainly too late for this coinage, also holds true for both of the cities in Asia Minor, which only appear, respectively, in the Roman Tabula Peutingeriana and the writings of Stephanus of Byzantium.

In sum, the coins do seem to be from a mint in Asia Minor, more specifically, western Asia Minor, and while the legend is more likely an ethnic, there is still the possibility that it is a person's name.

Closing Date and Time: 15 June 2022 at 11:00:00 ET.

All winning bids are subject to an 18% buyer’s fee.