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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

61, Lot: 19. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $1200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THRACO-MACEDONIAN TRIBES, The Bisalti. Circa 480 BC. AR Oktadrachm (32mm, 28.34 gm). Bridled horse walking right; behind is a young man wearing a petasos and holding two spears pointed forward / Quadripartite incuse. SNG ANS -; Pozzi 1450; Svoronos, Primitif, 16. Toned, good VF, test cut on obverse with corresponding flan crack on reverse, porous. Very rare.

The Bisalti were of Pelasgian or Thracian origin and occupied the territory between the rivers Echedorus and Strymon, including the metal bearing mountains which separated their territory from that of the Crestonii and Mygonia to the west (Herodotus 7, 115). At the time of the invasion of Xerxes in 480 BC, a Thracian ruler, independent of Macedonian influence, governed the Bisalti; he refused to assist the Great King of Persia when his army crossed Thrace to invade mainland Greece. Some tim after the Persian retreat, Alexander I of Macedon annexed the territory as far as the Strymon valley. Capturing its rich silver-mines, he issued the first regal Macedonian coinage, which is indistinguishable from the Bisaltian but for the placing of his own name. The Delian League and Athens’ reduction of Thasos in 463/2 checked his further expansion. The absence of Bisalti issues in the Asyut hoard of Egypt, which was buried about 475, led Price and Waggoner to suggest a mintage at the time of the Athenian expedition to the Thracian coast in about 475-465. This coinage was terminated around the time of the foundation of the Athenian colony at Ennea Hodoi, later Amphipolis, and the subsequent disaster at Drabescus in 465/4, in which the Athenian colonists were exterminated by the native Thracians.