THRACO-MACEDONIAN REGION. Uncertain. Late 6th century BC. Drachm (Silver, 16 mm, 3.42 g), light Milesian or reduced Chian standard. Forepart of a lion to right, head turned back to left. Rev. Small incuse square. Apparently unpublished save for its previous auction appearances. A wonderful coin, beautifully toned and of vigorous Archaic style. About extremely fine.
From the collection of Sheik Saud al Thani, Numismatica Ars Classica 126, 17 November 2021, 94 corr., Sternberg XXXV, 29 October 2000, 214 corr., Sternberg XXI, 14-15 November 1988, 31 corr. (all as 'Chersonesos' and with erroneous references) and Leu 18, 5 May 1977, 111 ('Macedon, uncertain').
Cautiously described as coming from an uncertain Macedonian mint in Leu 18 in 1977, this wonderful piece was attributed to Chersonesos in Thrace for the first time by F. Sternberg in 1988, who cited Weber 2401 as a reference, stating that it was 'likely struck from the same dies' ('das [...] wohl stempelgleiche Stück'). However, the Weber coin with its bulky, large lion and a considerably lower weight was clearly not struck from the same dies. Still, our coin has since been treated as an early issue from Chersonesos in Thrace in subsequent sales catalogues, despite differing considerably in style and weight from the early coinage from Chersonesos, which consists of tetradrachms and fractions on the Attic weight standard, with its tetrobols weighing circa 2.8 g.
In fact, the weight of 3.42 g of our piece corresponds much better to a drachm on the light Milesian standard in use in Macedon and the Chalkidiki in the late 6th and early 5th centuries or to a quarter-stater (drachm) on the reduced Chian standard adopted by Abdera and its hinterland. Thus, an origin in the Thraco-Macedonian hinterland seems much more likely than the supposed connection to Chersonesos in Thrace. This origin is also consistent with the piece's wonderful, albeit somewhat crude, Archaic style.