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Triton XXIII – Session One – Greek Coinage Part I

Lot nuber 291

KINGS of PONTOS. Pharnakes I. Circa 200-169 BC. AR Drachm (19mm, 4.11 g, 11h). Sinope mint.


Triton XXIII – Session One – Greek Coinage Part I
Lot: 291.
 Estimated: $ 5 000

Greek, Silver

Sold For $ 6 500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

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KINGS of PONTOS. Pharnakes I. Circa 200-169 BC. AR Drachm (19mm, 4.11 g, 11h). Sinope mint. Diademed and bearded head right / BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΦAPNAKOY, male figure, wearing petasos and chlamys, standing facing, cradling cornucopia and kerykeion in his left arm, and holding vine branch in his right hand; star-in-crescent (Pontic royal symbol) to upper left; to lower left, deer standing right, feeding on vine; monogram to right. Callataÿ, First, dies O5/R1; RG 5; HGC 7, 324 (this coin illustrated); SNG von Aulock 2 (same obv. die); SNG Berry 890 (same obv. die); SNG BM Black Sea 1026 (same rev. die); Boston MFA 1353 = Pozzi 2090 (same dies); Jameson 2152 (same obv. die); Hirsch 1413 (same obv. die). Toned, a hint of porosity. Good VF. Well centered on a broad flan. Splendid hellenistic portrait.

From the Weise Collection. Ex Triton XIII (5 January 2010), lot 169.

As noted by Mørkholm (EHC p. 175), the regal heads on the issues of the Kings of Pontos are among the most elegant and accomplished portraits of Hellenistic coinage. Certainly the product of Greek artists, they are of the finest style, almost too human in character, with a realism that is lacking in many of the idealized portraits found among contemporary royal issues of other kingdoms. Pharnakes I ascended the throne after the death of his father, Mithridates III, circa 200 BC. Most of his reign was spent attempting to expand the borders of his realm, which, circa 181 BC, brought him into conflict with Eumenes II of Pergamon and Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia, who were allied with each other. Each side blamed the other for the aggression, and appealed to Rome to intervene on their respective side. Hostilities were temporarily halted after the arrival of a Roman delegation, but their failure to resolve the disputes led to renewed warfare. By 179 BC, however, it was clear that Pharnakes could no longer withstand the combined Pergamene and Cappadocian forces. In exchange for peace, Pharnakes gave up his possessions in Galatia and Paphlagonia, except for the important trading city of Sinope. Little else is known of his reign.

The final winners of all Triton XXIII lots will be determined at the live public sale that will be held on 14-15 January 2020. Triton XXIII – Session One – Greek Coinage Part I will be held Tuesday morning, 14 January 2020 beginning at 9:00 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and in person at the public auction, 22.50% for all others.