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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXII, Lot: 460. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BAKTRIA, Greco-Baktrian Kingdom. Antimachos I Theos. Circa 180-170 BC. AR Tetradrachm (31mm, 16.88 g, 12h). Diademed and draped bust right, wearing kausia / [B]AΣIΛEΩΣ ΘEOY to right, ΑNTIMAXOY to left, Poseidon, laureate, standing facing, holding trident in right hand and cradling filleted palm in left arm; monogram to inner right. Bopearachchi 1D; Bopearachchi & Rahman 176–8; SNG ANS 276-7; MIG Type 124b; HGC 12, 106. Good VF, lightly toned.

From the Menlo Park Collection; purchased from Palladium Numismatics, 1995.

Thanks to his coinage, the genial face of Antimachos is more familiar to us than the visages of many Hellenistic rulers, although only a single surviving tax receipt provides any other evidence for his reign. The distinctive head gear he sports is a kausia, a Macedonian sun hat, showing his connection to the distant homeland of his race. The most unusual feature of his nomenclature is the epithet Theos, “God,” unusual even in an era of grandiose titles and egos, and incongruous juxtaposed to the king’s very human portrait. Another mystery is the presence of Poseidon, god of the sea, as Baktria was almost entirely land-locked. Since Poseidon was also the god of earthquakes, his appearance here may be an appeal for protection.