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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

372, Lot: 147. Estimate $200.
Sold for $1700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA, Magnesia ad Maeandrum. Themistokles. Circa 465-459 BC. AR Hemiobol (7mm, 0.37 g, 1h). Barley grain; ΘE to left, meander pattern to right / Male head (Themistokles?) right, wearing diadem; [M]-A across field; all within incuse square. Triton XIII, lot 185; CNG E-288, lot 230; Gorny & Mosch 204, lot 1514; Roma VII, lot 556; otherwise unpublished. Good VF, lightly toned. Good metal. Extremely rare, apparently the fifth known.

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.