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    Pleasing Miletus Stater

    IONIA. Miletus. Ca. 600-530 BC. EL stater (19mm, 13.97 gm). NGC AU 4/5 - 3/5, light smoothing. Lydo-Milesian standard. Male lion recumbent to left, head reverted, mouth open, within rectangular frame divided into small compartments / Rectangular punch between two square punches, the outer two punches containing stellate and geometric figures composed of dots connected by lines, the central punch divided in two, the top with geometric figure, the bottom containing a running animal (fox?). SNG Kayhan 441. Cf. Rosen 677 (slightly different reverse punches). Nicely centered and struck, with full recumbent lion, decidedly rare thus.

    From the Buzz Owen Collection. With David R. Sear ACCS certificate dated August 6, 1996. 

    Miletus was one of the greatest Greek cities of Asia Minor. Located on the west coast of Anatolia at the mouth of the Meander River, it was founded as early as the 15th century BC period by Minoan settlers from Crete, and had already acquired its name by the 13th century BC (Hittite clay tablets of that era refer to the city as Millawanda or Millawata). Destroyed during the Sea People upheavals of the later 12th century BC, it was resettled by Ionian Greeks circa 1000 BC. By circa 600 BC it was regarded as the wealthiest and most populous of all Greek cities, home to the Milesian School of Philosophers, with its own small "empire" of maritime colonies. It was certainly among the first Greek cities to strike coins, if not the first, and this pleasing electrum stater is one of the first full-weight pieces struck. The typology adopted before 600 BC featured a lion looking back and roaring, a theme that remained consistent for the next four centuries (see the Signature Session lots 29183-29186 for more Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic coins of Miletus).




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