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    Description

    Lustrous Lebedus Tetradrachm

    IONIA. Lebedus. Ca. 160-140 BC. AR tetradrachm (32mm, 16.87 gm, 12h). NGC MS 5/5 - 5/5. Apollodotus, magistrate. Head of Athena right wearing triple-crested helmet ornamented with laurel branch on visor / ΛEBEΔIΩN / AΠΟΛΛ-ΟΔΟΤΟΣ, owl standing facing on club between double cornucopia; all within laurel wreath. Amandry, Group IV, 17-18 (D2/unlisted reverse die). Kinns 30. Rare! Exceptionally clean, well-centered strike on both sides from dies of wonderful high Hellenistic style; outstanding metal quality, with detailed devices and reflective fields. A stunning stephanophoric tetradrachm!

    From the Northern California Collection; acquired from Freeman & Sear, 2003.

    In the mid-second century BC, the Greek cities of western Asia Minor were freed from Seleucid rule and immediately began striking their own autonomous coinage of a new and attractive design. Struck on broad flans and depicting a variety of Olympian gods and other deities on the obverse, the reverse design was almost always enclosed in a wreath, leading the coins to be termed 'stephanophori' ("wreath bearers"). The prototype for this was provided by Athens with its New Style coinage. Lebedus, one of the 12 cities of the Ionian League, was something of a resort city known for its mineral springs. Though prosperous, its population was limited by its position on the small Kisik peninsula and its coinage was consequently very limited, making its stephanophoric coins among the rarest of the Anatolian cities. The obverse head of Athena wearing a remarkably detailed helmet is one of the finest in all Greek coinage, surpassing contemporary issues of Athens. The reverse pays homage to Athens with its depiction of an owl perched on a club, between a pair of cornucopiae. The stephanophoric era of 160-140 BC represented the last great flowering of Greek numismatic art before the rising power of Rome engulfed the Classical World. 




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    August, 2017
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