An extremely rare civic stater from Miletos
Lot 787
IONIA. Miletos. Circa 130-120 BC. Stater (Gold, 20 mm, 8.51 g, 12 h), Attic standard, Eumechanos, magistrate. Laureate head of Apollo to right, with bow and quiver over his left shoulder. Rev. EYMHXAN[OΣ] Lion standing right, head turned back to left; above, star; in field to right, monogram of MI above monogram of ΙΣ. BMC 114 and pl. XXII, 3 (same obverse die). Deppert-Lippitz p. 121, 3-5 and pl. 32, 6 (same dies). Extremely rare, apparently the fourth known example. Struck from slightly worn dies and with a scrape on the obverse, otherwise, very fine.

Ex Leu 10, 24 October 2021, 2151.

With Deppert-Lippitz recording a mere five examples in 1984, the late Hellenistic Milesian civic gold coinage is of an exceptional rarity. Unfortunately, much damage was done by her unjustified condemnation of the entire series as doubtful, a judgement that was vehemently contested by P. Kinns in his review of Deppert-Lippitz's monograph (P. Kinns: The coinage of Miletus, in: NC 146 (1986), pp. 233-260, with the relevant discussion on pp. 245-247). There is, as Kinns rightly pointed out, not the slightest evidence that these coins are anything but authentic, and his arguments in favor of them are absolutely persuasive.

For example, Kinns pointed out that BMC 114, a coin struck from the same obverse dies as ours, has a recorded pedigree to 1816, when it was acquired by Lord Elgin, carrying an extremely rare name on the reverse that was unknown to scholarship prior to this date. Yet similarly named magistrates later turned up in inscriptions recovered from Miletos and Didyma. How any 18th or early 19th century forger should have made up a name on a coin that later appeared on authentic inscriptions is anyone's guess. In any case, to this and Kinns' other observations we may add that our example, signed by the very same magistrate, Eumechanos, has all the signs of a struck original, with some die wear and minor die breaks, and perhaps even some light traces of overstriking on the reverse. It is clearly authentic and of great interest as one of the very few civic gold issues in western Asia Minor from this time.

Kinns originally dated the series to circa 175-160 BC (Kinns, Miletus, p. 260) and later amended this to 150-130, connecting it to the gold from Ephesos (P. Kinns: Milesian silver coinage in the second century BC, in: Studies Price, p. 182). With the latter now being downdated as well, placing the Milesian gold in circa 130-120 BC appears realistic.
Starting price:
1500 CHF
Hammer price:
6500 CHF
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Closing time: 11-Mar-23, 18:33:00 CET
All winning bids are subject to an 18.5% buyer's fee.


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