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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 101. Estimate $7500.
Sold for $9000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MACEDON, Mende. Circa 460-423 BC. AR Tetradrachm (24mm, 16.96 g, 1h). 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 / MEN-ΔA-I-ON within linear square around vine of six grape clusters within linear square; all within shallow incuse square. Noe, Mende 84 (same dies); AMNG III/2, 20; HGC 3, 547; SNG ANS 346 = SNG Berry 36 (same dies); Dewing 1055 (same dies); Gulbenkian 412 (same rev. die); Jameson 1967 (same rev. die). Good VF, attractively toned, minor double strike on reverse.

Ex Stack's (6 December 1995), lot 75; Spink Numismatic Circular CXIII.2 (April 2005), no. GK1521 (illustrated on front cover).

The city of Mende, located on the Pallene Peninsula on the eastern shore of the Thermaic Gulf, was founded by Eretria in the 8th century BC (Thucydides 4.123.1). 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 Nikias. 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 drunk from a symposium, a representation of careless joy which links the world of men with the Olympians – at least until the morning.