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Ex Jameson and Prince Chachowsky Collections – Pedigreed to 1908

5631925. Sold For $47500

THRACE, Ainos. Circa 412/1-410/09 BC. AR Tetradrachm (22mm, 16.51 g, 12h). Head of Hermes right, wearing petasos with pelleted rim / Goat standing right; Å5@-5 above, kerykeion to lower right; all within incuse square. May, Ainos, Group XXXI, 258b (A158/P167) = AMNG II 288/18 = Jameson 1048 (this coin); HGC 3, 1266; Boston MFA 779 = Warren 465 (same dies); Consul Weber 863 (same dies). Beautiful deep cabinet tone, a hint of die wear, old scrape on reverse. Superb EF. Perfectly centered.

Ex Numismatic Fine Arts XII (23 March 1983), lot 37; Robert Jameson Collection (publ. 1913); Prince Chachowsky Collection (Egger [20], 7 January 1908), lot 240.

Ainos came rather late to currency production, striking its first tetradrachms only after the expulsion of the Persians from northern Greece following Xerxes’ defeat at Salamis. Its first period ended with the Athenian coinage decree of 449 BC, but the mint was in operation again by circa 435 BC, tapering off rapidly until disappearing with the conquest of the city by Philip of Macedon in 342 BC. Its uniform types throughout its history were Hermes and the goat, the latter the symbol of the pasture land that provided what prosperity Ainos had. Hermes was the patron deity of Ainos, dating from the time of the Trojan War. According to a poem by Kallimachos, the sculptor Epeios, who constructed the Trojan Horse, also made a wooden statue (ξοανον) of Hermes, which was washed out to sea and recovered by fishermen by the Hebros river. The fishermen, thinking it just a piece of driftwood, tried to burn it in their bonfire. When it failed to burn they took fright and threw it back into the sea, which promptly cast it back again. The natives accepted it as a relic of the gods, and erected the sanctuary of Hermes Perpheraios (the Wanderer) at the future site of Ainos. The later coins of Ainos showcase some of the finest numismatic art of the Greek world. Nevertheless, Ainos never became an important city or trading center. The climate might have had something to do with it; according to Athaneus, Ainos had two seasons, eight months of cold and four months of winter. At least the goats liked it.