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    Description

    IONIA. Magnesia ad Maeandrum. Ca. 155-145 BC. AV stater (19mm, 8.37 gm, 12h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5. Euphemus and Pausianius, magistrates. Draped bust of Artemis right, wearing stephane, hair gathered into knot at back of head, quiver and bow over shoulder / ΜΑΓΝΗΤΩΝ above Nike standing in car of biga right, holding kentron in right hand and reins in left, both horses prancing right; ΕΥΘΗΜΟΣ below horses, ΠΑΥΣΑΝΙΟΥ below ground line. BMC Ionia --. SNG Von Aulock --. SNG Copenhagen --. Extremely rare; cf. Heritage 3056, lot 30066 for another example. A completely unrecorded denomination and type for this city, and of immense numismatic importance! Struck from a somewhat rusty obverse die and displaying corresponding granularity, otherwise a highly attractive type from dies of fine style.

    Magnesia ad Maeandrum was founded on the banks of the Lecathus, a tributary of the Maeander river, in south-western Ionia circa the mid-700s BC by a tribe from Thessaly known as the Magnetes, plus colonists from Crete. In the mid-2nd century BC, Magnesia was among the cities that enjoyed a Renaissance of classical Greek coinage, issuing large and beautiful stephanophoric ("wreath bearing") silver tetradrachms bearing a lovely head of the city's patron goddess, Artemis, with a reverse depicting her brother Apollo standing atop a meander pattern. These coins carried the names of a series of magistrates (or, as suggested by Nicholas F. Jones, wealthy civic patrons who financed the coinage), including probably the same Euphemos and Pausanius named on this gold stater, allowing us to date this remarkable piece to the same era as the stephanophoric tetradrachms, circa 155-145 BC. While Artemis graces the obverse, the reverse depiction of Nike driving a biga is otherwise unknown on any coinage of Magnesia and suggests that the issuance of our stater was in honor of a military victory of some kind, or perhaps the anniversary of a great victory. Since Magnesia was not itself a military powerhouse, the occasion must remain an open question, although the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Magnesia, which fell in December 150 BC, is a possibility. Although the battle between the Roman Republic and the Seleucid Kingdom occurred near a different Magnesia (ad Sipylum in Lydia), it effectively freed western Asia Minor from Seleucid control and gave the cities therein a large measure of autonomy within the loosely controlled Pergamene Kingdom.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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