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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Eastern Hacksilber

CNG 97, Lot: 1. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $5500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Hoard of 32 Cut Silver Coins, Hacksilber, and Jewelry. Late 5th century BC. . Composed of the following:

(1) SICILY, Syracuse. Hieron I. 478-466 BC. Tetradrachm fragment (6.22 g). Struck circa 478-475 BC. Charioteer driving quadriga right; above, Nike flying right, crowning horses / Head of Arethusa right; four dolphins around. Boehringer Series VIIIb, 142 (V63/R97).

(2) KINGS of MACEDON, Alexander I. 498-454 BC. Oktadrachm fragment (9.16 g). Struck circa 492-480/79 BC. Horseman, wearing chlamys and petasos, and holding two spears, standing right behind horse advancing right / Quadripartite incuse square. Raymond pl. II, 6; SNG ANS 1; HPM pl. XII, 2 (Bisaltai).

(3) BOEOTIA, Haliartos. Circa 525-480 BC. Stater fragment (9.14 g). Boeotian shield, rim divided into eight sections / Incuse square with counterclockwise mill-sail pattern; large aspirate in center. BCD Boeotia 155.

(4) ATTICA, Athens.

(a) Circa 475-465 BC. Six tetradrachm fragments (8.15 g, 7.70 g, 6.55 g, 5.86 g, 4.36 g, and 3.94 g). Helmeted head of Athena right / Owl standing right, head facing, with spread tail feathers; olive sprig and crescent behind; all within incuse square. Cf. Starr Groups II–IV (indeterminate variety).

(b) Circa 465/2-454 BC. Tetradrachm fragment (9.46 g). Types as last. Starr Group V (indeterminate variety).

(c) Circa 465/2-454 BC. Tetradrachm, with attached silver bail (22.60 g, with bail). Types as last. Starr Group V.B. Cut and holed.

(d) Circa 454-404 BC. Six tetradrachm fragments (15.73 g, 14.64 g, 11.92 g, 11.27 g, 9.94 g, and 6.41 g). Types as last by owl with closed tail feathers. Kroll 8.

(e) Circa mid 5th century BC. Tetradrachm fragment (10.42 g). Eastern imitation of Athenian types.

(5) ISLANDS off ATTICA, Aegina.

(a) Circa 500/490-480 BC. Stater fragment (7.81 g). Sea turtle / Small incuse square with skew pattern. HGC 6, 434.

(b) Circa 480-457 BC. Stater (11.54 g). Sea turtle / Large incuse square with skew pattern. HGC 6, 435. Cut flan.

(6) ISLANDS off CARIA, Rhodes. Lindos. Circa 515/0-475 BC. Stater (9.87 g). Head of lion right / Rectangular incuse divided by thick central band. HGC 6, 1397. Cut flan.

(7) CYPRUS, Kition. Baalmelek II. Circa 425-400 BC. Stater (10.25 g). Herakles in fighting stance right / Lion attacking bull right in dotted square within incuse square. Tziambazis 19; BMC 29. Cut flan.

(8) PHOENICIA, Sidon.

(a) Uncertain king. Circa 450-435 BC. Half Shekel fragment (4.20 g, 12h). Phoenician galley, with open triangular sail, left / King of Persia standing right, drawing bow, quiver over shoulder, [within incuse circle]. Elayi & Elayi Group I.1, 1 (uncertain dies). Cut flan. Extremely rare first coinage of Sidon.

(b) Uncertain king. Circa 435-425 BC. Dishekel fragment (9.06 g, 12h). Phoenician galley, with drawn sail, left; waves below / Persian King and driver in chariot left; above, schematic goat left in incuse; all within incuse square. Cf. Elayi & Elayi Group II.1, 20–5 (D2/R?).

(c) Uncertain king. Circa 435-425 BC. Half Shekel (19mm, 6.90 g, 12h). Phoenician galley, with drawn sail, left; waves below / King of Persia standing right, drawing bow, quiver over shoulder; behind, incuse facing head (Bes?); before, incuse head of goat right; all within incuse square. Elayi & Elayi Group II.2, 53 (D3/R8). Holed.

(9) UNCERTAIN. Four fragments of indeterminate type (9.74 g, 7.11 g, 6.94 g, and 4.12 g).

(10) JEWELRY. Three ornamental pieces composed of blank silver triangles, each with attached silver bail (5.21 g, 4.97 g, and 4.97 g).

. Fair to VF condition, all have varying degrees of toning and deposits, some with areas of roughness and test cuts. Lot sold AS IS, no returns. Thirty-two (32) pieces in lot.

Uncertain find spot, but the composition of the hoard is consistent with others found in the Levant.

Hacksilber is the general term for pieces of cut silver – coins, ingots, and jewelry – that were used as bullion or currency in pre-monetized economies. This was especially true in the East before the Hellenistic period when coinage became a common form of currency. In addition to ingots and pieces of jewelry, many of these hacksilber hoards included cut fragments of archaic and classical coins. In his presentation of a hacksilber hoard that had recently been donated to the Israel Museum, Haim Gitler (“A Hacksilber and Cut Athenian Tetradrachm Hoard from the Environs of Samaria: Late Fourth Century BCE” in INJ 1 [2006]) used the opportunity to present a survey of a number of hacksilber hoards that had been found previously in the Levant and Egypt. In it he noted that, when compared to such hoards found elsewhere, those from the Levant and Egypt contained a high proportion of Athenian tetradrachms or their fragments. Moreover, specifically Levantine hoards usually also contained jewelry, unlike the ones found in Egypt. The composition of the present hoard suggests an origin in the Levant. The coin portion of it is not unusual when compared to known Levantine hacksilber hoards, even though this group of coins cover a broad period of time – with the earliest being a stater of Lindos (circa 515/0-475 BC) and the latest a stater of Baalmelek II of Kition (circa 425-400 BC), and with a wide geographic origin – from the westernmost being Syracuse to Sidon in the east. IGCH 1483, Massyaf, 1961, is the most illustrative comparison, since it is a Levantine hoard that was deposited circa 425-420 BC, and which also contains coins from Sicily to Phoenicia (see C.M. Kraay & P.R.S. Moorey, "Two fifth century hoards from the Near East" in RN 1968, at 210-22).