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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Famed Troy of Antiquity

Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 215. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008. 
Sold For $3750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

TROAS, Ilion. Circa 188-133 BC. AR Tetradrachm (16.72 g, 12h). Phoinikos, magistrate. Head of Athena right, wearing laureate and triple-crested helmet / A-QHNAS ILIADOS, Athena Ilias standing right, holding distaff and filleted spear; at her feet to right, owl standing right; to inner left, monogram above star; FOINIKOS in exergue. Bellinger -; SNG Copenhagen -; SNG von Aulock -. Near EF, attractive, even gray toning. Rare, and unpublished with these controls and magistrate.

From the Semon Lipcer Collection.

Founded in the seventh century BC by Aeolians on the site of ancient Troy, Ilion prospered and ultimately developed into a successful Hellenistic and Roman city. It possessed a famous temple of Athena (‘Ilias’) which was visited by King Xerxes of Persia and later by Alexander the Great. The Romans always had a high regard for Ilion because of the legend of Aeneas and the tradition that Rome's founders were of Trojan origin. With the collapse of Seleukid authority in Asia Minor in 189 BC, Ilion, in common with many other communities of western Asia Minor, celebrated its liberation from regal authority by issuing large and impressive tetradrachms. These honor the goddess Athena Ilias, whose helmeted head appears as the obverse type, while the reverse features her standing figure, probably the statue which stood within the temple. The names appearing on these issues are not technically magistrates, but wealthy and influential citizens who financed the coinage from their own monies in return for recognition on the coins (see Bellinger, "The First Civic Tetradrachms of Ilium," ANSMN VIII (1958), p. 23-24). The patronymic form used on this coinage has a parallel in the earlier stephanophoric coinage of Magnesia ad Maeandrum (see Jones).