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Rare Fraction of Themistokles

368, Lot: 81. Estimate $200.
Sold for $850. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA, Magnesia ad Maeandrum. Themistokles. Circa 465-459 BC. AR Trihemiobol (9.5mm, 0.37 g, 4h). Head of Hephaistos right, wearing laureate pilos / ΘE in dotted square border within incuse square. Nollé & Wenninger 5a; Cahn & Gerin 8 = SNG München 585. Fine, lightly toned, porous, area of flat strike. Very rare.

Themistokles was perhaps the most important, and certainly one of the most powerful, political figures in early fifth century Athens. He persuaded the Athenians to use the newly found wealth from the silver mines of Laurion to build a navy, essential to their defeat of the Persians a short time later. Sometime in the early 460s BC, Themistokles was ostracized. He fled to Asia Minor, where he was well received by the Persian king, who granted him the income of three cities in Ionia. Themistokles chose Magnesia on the Maeander as his new headquarters, where these coins were struck.