An extremely rare tetradrachm of Pharnakes I
Lot 633
KINGS OF PONTOS. Pharnakes I, circa 185-170 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 34 mm, 17.00 g, 12 h), Sinope. Diademed and bearded head of Pharnakes I to right. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ - ΦAPNAKOY Pantheistic male deity standing facing, holding cornucopiae and kerykeion with his left hand and feeding fawn standing right from a vine branch with grapes held in his right; above, thunderbolt; in inner left field, star within crescent; in inner right field, monogram of ΠAΣ. De Callataÿ, Pontos, O4/R1. Mattingly pl. 56, 5. RG 4b. SNG BM Black Sea -. SNG Paris -. Of the highest rarity, apparently the second known example, and with a beautiful portrait struck in high relief. Struck from a somewhat worn reverse die and with minor marks, otherwise, very fine.

From a European collection, formed before 2005.

The Pontic King Pharnakes I is mainly known to us through fragments from Polybius' historical work, detailing various embassies sent by the ruler to the Roman Senate in response to complaints from the Rhodians in Rome regarding Pontus' conquest of the important port city Sinope. Like all Pontic kings before Mithradates VI, Pharnakes I minted few coins, and his tetradrachms rank among the rarest of the Hellenistic era. Particularly striking in the entirety of Pontic coinage from this period are the extraordinary portraits, distinct from the idealized depictions of contemporary Macedonian dynasties and counted among the most significant portrait representations on ancient coins.
Starting price:
5000 CHF
Hammer price:
7000 CHF
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Closing time: 13-Jul-24, 17:16:00 CEST
All winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee.


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