Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich
Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich, Auction 117

Greek, Roman and Gupta Empire gold coins

Tu, 01.10.2019, from 04:45 PM CEST
The auction is closed.


Alexandrine Empire, Satraps of Baylonia under Alexander III. Stamenes, 328-323. Double daric 328-323, AV 16.86 g. The Great King advancing r., holding bow and spear; in l. field, ΣTA, in r. field, Φ / Λ and below, MNA. Rev. Striated oblong incuse. Howorth, NC 1904, pp. 1-38 and pl. II, 5 (this obverse die). Head, The earliest Graeco-Bactrian and Graeco-Indian coins, NC 1906, pl. I, 4 (this obverse die). Nicolet-Pierre –. Mitchiner type 15i (this obverse die)
Extremely rare. Minor area of weakness on obverse, otherwise good very fine

From a Swiss Private collection and notarised as being in Switzerland prior to 2005.This extremely rare double daric features an obverse type that had been traditional to the daric denomination since its introduction by Dareios I in c. 485 BC. A crowned male figure appears on the obverse in an archaizing kneeling-running
pose holding a spear and bow. Although this is sometimes disputed, this figure probably represents the Persian Great King heroically armed for war. Indeed, this seems to have been what contemporary Greeks thought when they gave the denomination the name “daric” in the same way that they called Athenian tetradrachms “owls” and Corinthian staters “colts.” However, whereas darics of the fifth and most of the fourth century were entirely anepigraphic, the present double daric is remarkable for its unexpected Greek controls.The precise dating of the late double darics signed ΣTA MNA has been the subject of some controversy, although controls shared with the silver tetradrachms of Alexander the Great at Babylon make it certain that they must have been struck after the death of Dareios III (330 BC), the last Persian Great King, at the very earliest. There has been dispute over the question of whether the double darics actually might have been struck after the death of Alexander in 323 BC. This possibility has been raised by N. Nicolet-Pierre, who argued that the ΣTA of the coins refer not to Stamenes, who served as satrap of Babylon in 328-323 BC, but rather to Stasanor, the satrap of Drangiana and Areia in 328-321 BC and Baktria and Sogdiana in 321-c. 317 BC. In her view, the ΣTA MNA issues followed those marked M-ΛY, which certainly belong after the death of Alexander, but this arrangement is somewhat subjective, as has been pointed out by G. Le Rider. He furthermore attempted to associate the MNA element of the control with the same individual who signed imitation Athenian silver denominations in Baktria, which were traditionally associated with the obscure local ruler Sophytes and dated to Alexander’s lifetime. However, the early dating of Sophytes has been thrown into doubt in recent years, which would seem to support Nicolet-Pierre’s later dating, although it does not really answer the question of why a satrap of such distant territories as Drangiana, Areia, Baktria, and Sogdiana should have been striking coins at Babylon—there is no dispute about the issuing mint. Thus, in the absence of better hoard evidence, the possibility that the attribution to the ΣTA MNA double darics were struck by Stamenes must remain open.Also mysterious about the double darics is the purpose that they served. It was clearly different than that of the Alexandrine gold staters of Babylon, as indicated by both the use of the Persic rather than Attic standard and the use of a different gold alloy. Perhaps the double darics were needed to pay elements of the native population of Babylon or perhaps (non-Greek?) mercenaries long accustomed to the Persian denomination and not yet ready to place their full faith in the types of Alexander. It is notable that even as late as the last decade of the fourth century BC, Seleukos I still found it necessary to continue local Babylonian silver coinage on the Persic standard (i.e., lion staters) and produced his own gold daric denomination. Thus, the preceding ΣTA MNA double darics appear to have been struck in a distinct “native workshop” in the same way that Seleukos’ later native Babylonian issues seem to have been.

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Price realized --
Starting price 12'000 CHF
Estimate 15'000 CHF
The auction is closed.
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