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Triton XXIII – Session One – Greek Coinage Part I

Lot nuber 293

KINGS of PONTOS. Mithradates VI Eupator. Circa 120-63 BC. AR Tetradrachm (35.5mm, 16.62 g, 12h). Pergamon mint. Dated month 12, year 223 BE (September 74 BC).


Triton XXIII – Session One – Greek Coinage Part I
Lot: 293.
 Estimated: $ 30 000

Greek, Silver

Sold For $ 75 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

KINGS of PONTOS. Mithradates VI Eupator. Circa 120-63 BC. AR Tetradrachm (35.5mm, 16.62 g, 12h). Pergamon mint. Dated month 12, year 223 BE (September 74 BC). Diademed head right / Stag grazing left; BAΣIΛEΩΣ above, MIΘPAΔATOY/EYΠATOPOΣ in two lines below; to left, star-in-crescent above ΓKΣ (year); two monograms to right, IB (month) in exergue; all within Dionysiac wreath of ivy and fruit. Callataÿ p. 21, dies D55/R4, a (this coin, illustrated on pl. XI); HGC 7, 340; DCA 692; SNG BM Black Sea 1042; du Chastel 245; Leu 42, lot 269 (same dies). Virtually as struck, with a lovely old cabinet tone. Superb EF. Undoubtedly the finest specimen known. A spectacular portrait struck on an exceptionally broad flan.

From the Jonathan P. Rosen Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Review XLII.1 (Winter 2017), no. 436344; Sheikh Saud Al-Thani Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica 92, 23 May 2016), lot 185; JDL Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica 74 and Tradart 18 [joint sale], 18 November 2013), lot 289 (hammer 65,000 CHF); The Numismatic Auction II (12 December 1983), lot 122.

Mithradates is the Hellenistic monarch par excellence, his career driven by megalomaniacal ambitions leading to murderous assaults upon family and followers and disastrous foreign adventures against superior forces. His idealized portraiture attempts to mimic the gods with its bold staring gaze and unruly, free-flowing hair, but at its most extreme is a personification of hysteria in its Dionysiac sense. The wreath of ivy on the reverse reinforces Mithradates' link with the god as well as making a connection with the cistaphoric coinage that circulated in the area. The stag probably represents the civic center of Ephesos and the mintmark is of Pergamon, all part of the new Pontic kingdom, symbolized by the star and crescent. His empire collapsed before the armies of Sulla and Lucullus, and Mithradates ended his own life in exile in the far region of the Crimea, pursued to the end by vengeful Romans and family.

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.