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Ex von Aulock Collection

884698. Sold For $12500

DYNASTS of LYCIA. Mithrapata. Circa 390-370 BC. AR Stater (23mm, 9.73 g, 5h). Forepart of roaring lion right / Head of Mithrapata left; triskeles behind, name in Lycian around; all within incuse square. Mildenberg, Mithrapata 3 (O2/R2); Podalia 43 (A2/P2) = SNG von Aulock 4237 (this coin); Falghera -; SNG Copenhagen Supp. 472; ACGC 989 (same dies); Boston MFA Supp. 228 (same obv. die). EF, toned. Exceptional for issue.

Ex Hans von Aulock Collection, 4237 (with his ticket).

The portraits on coins in the later Lycian series are among the finest of the Classical period. Among the earliest to attempt depictions of their rulers on coinage, the Lycians' first portraits in the later 5th century BC were innovative, but static, idealized forms lacking individual characterization. Over the next half-century, however, the style progressed significantly toward realism, culminating in the issues of the dynasts Mithrapata and Perikles in the early-mid 4th century BC. The coins of Mithrapata came first, depicting on their reverse the profile portrait of a man with distinctive elderly features. Through the relative chronology established in L. Mildenberg's die study, one can even see the portrait become more aged as time progressed, reflecting the absolute realism that had been captured in these issues. The coins of Perikles, Mithrapata's successor, continues this trend, but also has two innovations that sets them at the pinnacle of Classical art. First, the portrait is moved to the obverse of the coin, emphasizing the importance of the individual. Second, and most prominently, the portrait is not in the traditional profile, but in a dramatic facing state. Interestingly, both Mithrapata and Perikles are depicted without any sort of satrapal headgear, which was always included in earlier Lycian portraits, perhaps indicating that they had declared their independence from the Persians. Unfortunately, these astonishing developments in portraiture came to an abrupt end in Lycia when Maussollos of Caria invaded the region circa 360 BC.