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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VIII, Lot: 207. Estimate $2500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 10 January 2005. 
Sold For $2800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MACEDON, Under Roman Rule. Circa 167-146 BC. AR Tetradrachm (16.89 gm, 9h). Amphipolis mint. Diademed and draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder, in the center of a Macedonian shield decorated with seven eight-pointed stars within double crescents, each separated by seven pellets / LEG MAKEDONWN, club; above, hand holding olive branch; all within oak wreath, [thunderbolt to left]. MacKay, Macedonian 6b (O1/R6 ­ this coin); AMNG III/1 pg. 62, 190; SNG Ashmolean 3310 (same obverse die); SNG Copenhagen 1317 (same obverse die); SNG Lockett 1540 (same obverse die). EF, attractively toned, partial flat strike. Very rare. ($2500)

Ex Hirsch 33 (17 November 1913), lot 603; Rhousopoulos Collection (Hirsch XIII, 15 May 1905), lot 769.

This type was probably issued immediately following the suppression of Philip VI Andriskos' revolt. As the Romans did not think the Macedonian people had supported Andriskos, they sent a peace embassy, instead of an army of occupation, after his defeat. The Latin legend LEG refers to 'legatio’, an embassy, and the hand holding the olive branch an offer of peace.

A.M. Burnett published a hoard ("Aesillas: Two new hoards," CH VII) containing a small number of these tetradrachms along with various Athenian new style tetradrachms, Thasos tetradrachms, and Aesillas tetradrachms. Due to the light wear on the LEG MAKEDONWN tetradrachms, Burnett concluded that they were struck shortly before Aesillas' issues, a downdating of approximately fifty years. Some numismatists have adopted this proposal (see Crawford, CMRR, pg. 197). It seems more likely, however, that any apparent anomaly in degree of wear can be explained by the possibility that the hoard was assembled over a period of time, a supposition also supported by the other coinage found in the hoard. For example, the Athenian issues span the years 159/8-137/6 BC, and a number of these are also as well preserved as the Macedonian coins. The evidence of this single find is thus inconclusive, and cannot override MacKay's analysis without further confirmation.