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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Wonderful Inebriated Dionysos
Ex Claudius Côte Collection

Triton XXII, Lot: 182. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $42500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MACEDON, Mende. Circa 460-423 BC. AR Tetradrachm (28mm, 17.57 g, 11h). Inebriated Dionysos, wearing chiton draped from his waist, holding in right hand a kantharos propped on his right knee, reclining left on the back of an ass standing right; in exergue, kerykeion right and NI / MEN-ΔA-I-ON within linear square around vine of six grape clusters within linear square; all within shallow incuse square. Noe, Mende 93 (same dies); AMNG III/2, 20; HGC 3, 547; SNG ANS 350 (same dies); Jameson 1965 (same dies); Kraay & Hirmer 406 = GPCG pl. X, 12 (same dies); Pozzi 789 (same dies). EF, deep iridescent tone, minor doubling on obverse. Wonderful surfaces.

From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza & Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan Joint Collection (Numismatica Genevensis SA IX, 14 December 2015), lot 38; Numismatica Genevensis SA V (2 December 2008), lot 62; Gorny & Mosch 125 (13 October 2003), lot 102; Claudius Côte Collection (Feuardant Frères, 4 December 1936), lot 30. Reportedly ex Kalliandra Hoard (IGCH 358).

The city of Mende, located on the Pallene Peninsula on the eastern shore of the Thermaic Gulf, was, according to Thucydides (4.123.1), founded by Eretria in the 8th century. It later founded colonies of its own: Neapolis on the eastern coast of Pallene, and Eion at the mouth of the river Strymon near Amphipols. Mende's wealth is indicated by the high amounts of tribute paid to the Delian Confederacy: eight talents until 451-450 BC, and then amounts ranging form five to nine talents after 438-437 BC. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) Mende originally sided with Athens, but then, on the urging of the oligarchs, went over to the Spartan general Brasidas. It eventually returned to the Athenian side, but is not mentioned in connection with the Peace of Nicias. From 415-414 BC, Mende again appears in the Athenian Tribute Lists, but by the fourth century the city was only minting copper coins. The Dionysiac types of Mende proclaim it as a famous wine producing city, as attested by its amphoras that have been found throughout the Mediterranean. On this delightful coin, Dionysos, who rules wine and winemaking, is shown being carried home drunken from a symposium, a type of careless joy that links the world of men with the Olympians – at least until the morning.