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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VIII, Lot: 104. Estimate $15000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 10 January 2005. 
Sold For $19000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MACEDON, Aineia. Circa 4th century BC. AR Tetradrachm (14.11 gm, 4h). Head of a nymph right, wearing wreath of grain and single-pendant earring / AINE-HTW-N, bull standing right, head reverted. Giessener Münzhandlung 102 (24 May 2000), lot 133 (same dies); Classical Numismatic Group 67 (22 September 2004), lot 401 (same dies); otherwise unpublished. EF, slight die shift on reverse. The finest of three known examples. ($15,000)

Aineia (modern Nea Michaniona) was located on the north-east coast of the Chalkidike. It was a comparatively obscure place in ancient times, occupied from the Archaic through the Hellenistic periods. Some fine burial mounds from the city have produced gold treasures, and the city is attested in Athenian fiscal documents. According to legend it was founded by Trojans, who named it after the famous Trojan hero, Aineias (Aeneas). Today the city is virtually unknown to numismatists due to the great rarity of its coinage.

The reason this impressive silver tetradrachm was issued is not known, though by its style and fabric it can be dated to the middle of the fourth century BC. Its designs were clearly inspired by existing Greek coin types, though it does distinguish itself with some local flare. The head of the nymph on the obverse, wreathed in grain, is seemingly based upon the prolific issues of staters of Lokris in central Greece, which often circulated in northern Greece. The reverse is perhaps inspired by the standard issues of Ainos, which also featured a lone standing animal, albeit a goat.