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CNG Feature Auction 114

Lot nuber 241

KINGS of PERGAMON. Philetairos. 282-263 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 16.73 g, 12h). Pergamon mint. Struck circa 269/8-263 BC.


CNG Feature Auction 114
Lot: 241.
 Estimated: $ 7 500

Greek, Silver

Sold For $ 15 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

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KINGS of PERGAMON. Philetairos. 282-263 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 16.73 g, 12h). Pergamon mint. Struck circa 269/8-263 BC. Diademed head of Seleukos I right / ΦIΛETAIPOY, Athena, wearing crested Corinthian helmet and long chiton, enthroned left, extending right hand to hold shield decorated with gorgoneion to left, left arm cradling long scepter and resting on throne back in the form of a small sphinx seated right; ivy leaf above arm to left, bow to outer right, monogram in exergue. Ingvaldsen, Philetaerus 6c corr.: dies III/11 (this coin; see Ingvaldsen’s note 15, where he says the rev. die might be the same as the J. Hirsch coin, which is die 11, not 12); Newell, Pergamene 13, dies XIV/31; SC 309.4b. Toned, some smoothing and cleaning marks, light scratch on obverse. Near EF.

From the Jonathan P. Rosen Collection. Ex Shirley Hanberry Collection (Goldberg 96, 14 February 2017), lot 1698, purchased from Classical Numismatic Group, 1990; Leu 38 (13 May 1986), lot 102; Numismatic Fine Arts IX (10 December 1980), lot 239.

When Lysimachos established the mint of Pergamon, he entrusted its treasury to the eunuch Philetairos. Philetairos changed his allegiance to Seleukos I, probably shortly before the Battle of Korupedion in 281 BC, where Seleukos defeated Lysimachos. Although Seleukos was assassinated the following year, Philetairos struck a series of Alexander-type issues in the name of Seleukos. Philetairos continued to acknowledge Seleukid primacy for some time, but soon struck a coinage in his own name. This coinage featured Athena Nikephoros on the reverse, similar to the reverses of Lysimachos. Perhaps because this move might have been viewed as a threat by his Seleukid overlord, the obverse of the first issues of these coins featured the portrait of Seleukos I. Houghton & Lorber (SC), citing Le Rider and Newell, assign this coinage to the aftermath of Antiochos I's victory over the Galatians, circa 269/8 BC. Near the end of Philetairos’ reign, in the mid-late 260s, the portrait of Seleukos was replaced with the portrait of the Pergamene king, noting a final break from Seleukid authority. Similar to what was done in Ptolemaic Egypt, all of the subsequent kings of Pergamon continued to use these types on the coinage, and even kept Philetairos’ name. Distinguishing the issues between the various rulers has been difficult for numismatists. Westermark’s die study of the coinage, however, provided the key necessary for understanding the series, although more recent hoard evidence has refined Westermark’s assignment of the issues.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 114 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 13-14 May 2020. This lot is in Session 1, which begins 13 May 2020 at 9 AM ET.

UPDATE: As the CNG staff and many of our clients remain under social distancing and other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CNG 114 will be held as an internet only auction. The sale will take place as scheduled on 13-14 May 2020.

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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