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    Description

    Smallest Denomination

    Ephesus. Phanes. Ca. 625-600 BC. EL 1/96 Stater (4.5mm, 0.14 g). Head of stag right / Incuse square punch with raised lines within. Cf. CNG 70 (21 September 2005), lot 245 and Giessener Münzhandlung 46 (30 October 1989), lot 247 (same obv. die), otherwise unpublished. Extremely rare, likely the third and perhaps finest recorded specimen. Extremely Fine.

    The attribution to the enigmatic Phanes is based on stylistic similarities to a series of electrum issues ranging from full staters of about 14 grams down to the smallest recorded Greek denomination, the tiny 96th-stater seen here. A stater bearing image of a stag and the legend ΦΑΝΕΟΣ ΕΜΙ ΣΗΜΑ, translated as "I am the badge of Phanes," was found during excavations of the famed Temple of Artemis in Ephesus in what is believed to be the "foundation deposit" for the temple. The identity of the Phanes named on the coins is unknown, although it is as likely to be a wealthy merchant as a government magistrate or official, as the earliest coinage is believed to have been largely freelance, i.e. outside of government control. The use of the stag as a symbol points to a close association with the city of Ephesus, as the stag was sacred to Artemis, the city's patron goddess. Association with Phanes of Halicarnassus, a mercenary general who played a role in the Persian conquest of Egypt in 527-525 BC, is considered unlikely as the coins almost certainly predate him by several decades. Only the two largest denominations, full and 1/3 stater (trite), are inscribed. All denominations in the series, with the exception of the 1/24th stater, are exceedingly rare. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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