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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Significant Additions to the Corpus of Phaselis

Triton XIX, Lot: 251. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $2250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LYCIA, Phaselis. 4th century BC. AR Stater (22mm, 10.42 g, 5h). Prow of galley right, fighting platform decorated with Pegasos flying right; below, dolphin right / Stern of galley left; ΦAΣ above. Heipp-Tamer Series 6, unlisted variety; CNG 99, lot 276 (same dies). EF, toned, die break on obverse, area of granularity on obverse.

The following group of coins represent a remarkable addition to the corpus of the coinage of Phaselis. Most, if not all, appear to belong to Heipp-Tamer’s 6th series, known to her from only two coins, each from a different issue by virtue of the variation in their control marks, which she dated to the 4th century BC. The types of the coins are consistently prow right on the obverse and stern left on the reverse, with varying markings in the fields on both sides as well as on the prow’s fighting platform, likely denoting separate issues. In comparison to the similarly marked staters of the 3rd century that are marked with magistrates’ names (Heipp-Tamer Series 8, Emission 2), these staters are of more bold style both in type and epigraphy, with the exception of a few issues that have a monogram or no field markings. These latter issues have a more refined style, and longer ethnic; they appear to be the latest of these new issues, and might even be separated in time from the issues of bold style.

If the varieties of control marks do, in fact, denote separate issues, we can add fourteen new issues to the two already identified by Heipp-Tamer. Nearly all of the coins exhibit little, if any, die wear, suggesting numerous brief issues. Their relative chronology is unknown, as there does not appear to be any die links. That said, as mentioned above, the last four coins of this group below have a style that appears to be more like the 3rd century staters, which suggests that they are the latest in the group. The various symbols in the fields and on the fighting platform of the prow are usual types for Greek coins: cicadas, dolphins, gorgoneions, grapes, owls, serpents, shells, stars, and tripods, as well as Pegasos and Nike. The three issues with Nike and tripod, as well as an issue with a wreath affixed to a pole on the deck of the prow, stand out, suggesting some sort of a victory reference. Whether any such victory would be a military or games-related event is unknown, as much of the historic details of Phaselis during this period are obscure.