Kings of Pontus, Mithradates III, circa 220 – 196/5
Tetradrachm circa 220-196/5, AR 16.89 g. Diademed head of Mithradates r. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ – MIΘPAΔATOY Zeus seated l., holding eagle in his outstretched r. hand and sceptre in his l.; in inner l. field, star within a crescent above a monogram. Recueil général p. 10, 2 and pl. I, 2 (this obverse die). Mattingly, Studies Price, 2 and pl. 56 (this obverse die). SNG BM Black Sea 1024 var. (monogram below the throne).
Extremely rare. A bold portrait of great strength struck on a very broad flan,
superb old cabinet tone and good very fine / about extremely fine
Ex M&M 61, 1982, 131; Sotheby’s 4 December 1990, Hunt, 53 and New York XXVII, 2012, Prospero, 423 sales.
Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about the reign of Mithridates III of Pontos. His existence is assumed based on the mention of six Pontic kings of this name in the ancient sources although historical details are only attached to five. This extremely rare tetradrachm is traditionally attributed to Mithridates III although a case for Mithridates IV (170-150 BC) has been advanced on the basis of hoard evidence. However, such a reattribution seems problematic due to the seemingly different physiognomy of the portrait on the present coin and those commonly attributed to Mithridates IV. The typology illustrates the continued influence of Alexander the Great’s coinage at the end of the third century BC at the same time that the distinctive portrait of the Pontic king reflects new developments in Hellenistic portraiture. The seated Zeus is closely copied from Alexander’s tetradrachms whereas the royal portrait has a veristic quality, capturing the distinctive individual features of the king’s face.
|Price realized||100'000 CHF|
|Starting price||28'000 CHF|