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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 72, Lot: 718. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2006. 
Sold For $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA, Ephesos. Phanes. Circa 625-600 BC. EL Hekte – 1/6 stater (2.32 g). Forepart of stag right, head reverted / Incuse square punch with raised lines within. Triton IX, 919; Triton VIII, 400; CNG 69, 385; and CNG 67, 670, otherwise unpublished. VF, Very rare. Well centered strike, a few minor scrapes.

The celebrated coins of Phanes are known to be among the earliest of Greek coins, for a hemihekte of the issue was found in the famous foundation deposit of the temple of Artemis at Ephesos. It is this find spot, along with the design of the grazing stag (an animal associated with Artemis), that has suggested Ephesos as the mint. As presently known, the Phanes coinage consists of seven denominations, from stater down to 1/96 stater, with some denominations occurring in different varieties (the stag facing in different directions and sometimes associated with the symbol of a pentagram or a triad of pellets). Only the two largest denominations bear the name of Phanes. The three known staters carry the legend FANEOS EMI SHMA (or similar) (“I am the badge of Phanes”), and the four known trites (third staters) bear just the name FANEOS (“Of Phanes”). The use of a personal name at this early point in the development of coinage is instructive. We know from these coins that the responsibility for the issue was personal – whether the issuer was an official or a private individual – rather than collective (the citizenry as a whole). Despite the absence of a legend on the smaller denominations, the whole series is linked beyond doubt by the consistent type of the stag, by the common weight standard, and by the occasional use of the same reverse punch on different denominations within the series.