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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 272. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA (or CARIA), Uncertain. Late 6th - early 5th centuries BC. AR Hemistater or Drachm(?) (16mm, 5.92 g). Uncertain standard. Facing head of lion within dotted square in linear frame / Quadripartite incuse square. Unpublished in the standard references. VF, toned, some porosity, minor flan flaws. Apparently unique.

From the MM Collection. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 100 (29 May 2017), lot 160 (hammer CHF 2500); Gemini IV (8 January 2008), lot 58 (both sales attributing to Samos).

The obverse type is found among the archaic fractions at the Ionian cities of Miletos (cf. SNG Kayhan 455–61) and Samos (cf. Barron p. 175, 1 [there called a panther]). The style is nearly identical in both instances, and both are enclosed in a dotted square border. The weight of the present coin, however, does not fit the standard used at either city during the time those issues were struck. Also, both of these cities had established reverse types for their silver coins when those issues were struck, so the use of a typeless incuse here is unlikely if the coin was from either issues. The weight of this early issue is more consistent with an Aeginetic drachm, which suggests a possible attribution to a Carian mint, although it is also found at the Ionian mint of Teos.