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Unique Stater

CNG 106, Lot: 227. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $8000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

KINGS of MACEDON. Antigonos II Gonatas(?). 277/6-239 BC. AV Stater (19mm, 8.52 g, 9h). In the name and types of Philip II. Amphipolis mint. Head of Apollo right, wearing laurel wreath / ΦIΛIΠΠ[OY], charioteer, holding kentron in right hand, reins in left, driving fast biga right; below, Macedonian helmet, with two crests and cheek guards, facing. Panagopoulou pl. 48, 1 (this coin), otherwise unpublished. Near EF, tiny die break on obverse, slight die shift on reverse. Unique.

From the Belgica Collection. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 41 (20 November 2007), lot 1 (hammer 8500 CHF); Lanz 68 (76 June 1994), lot 124.

The attribution of this issue to Antigonos Gonatas is not certain, but based on the similarity of the helmet symbol to that found on Gonatas’s issues at Amphipolis and the fact that this issue is certainly later than the lifetime issues of Philip II. Stylistically, the portrait of Apollo is comparable to that found on royal portraits of the early-mid third century BC. Interestingly, Panagopoulou used the photo of this coin in her plate of Comparanda, but does not mention the coin in her text.

Gonatas issued very little gold during his reign, thus, if the attribution is correct, it adds a new issue to a very scant coinage. In his study on the coinage of Gonatas, Mathisen notes that the very rare Alexander type gold struck in the name of Antigonos was likely issued to pay Celtic mercenaries that the king recruited to assist him in his war against Pyrrhos (see Mathisen, p. 103). The Philip II type staters were also still in circulation in the region, but circumstances for its issue under Gonatas may be similar to that of the Alexander type.