Greece, MACEDON, Amphipolis. 357/6 BC. Tetradrachm (26mm, 11.5 g.) Head of Apollo facing slightly right, wearing laurel wreath, drapery around neck / AMΦ-IΠO-ΛIT-ΩN around raised linear square enclosing race torch; to inner right, small sphinx seated left; all within broad shallow incuse square. Lorber 42 (O23/R33) = Traité IV 1097 = G.E. Rizzo, Saggi Preliminari su L'Arte della Moneta nella Sicilia (Rome, 1938), p. 94, fig. 75, 4 = K. Regling, “Phigela, Klazomenai, Amphipolis,” ZfN 33 (1922), p. 75, 20. Good VF, attractively toned. A masterpiece of classical numismatic art. Extremely rare, only the second known from these dies, the other in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Münzkabinett (from the Löbbecke Collection).
It is rare in numismatic art that the quality of engraving approaches the artistic impression of major sculpture. The present coin, along with the few other known examples of the “Parthenon Group” within the Amphipolis coinage, represents perhaps our closest approach in numismatics to the finest art of classical Athens.
The Thracian city of Enna Hodoi (“Nine Roads”) on the Strymon River was conquered and re-founded by Athens in 437/6 and was re-named Amphipolis. The Athenian colonists were led by Perikles’ close friend Hagnon, son of Nikias. While Athens continued to issue coins that were the recognized standard trade currency of the eastern Mediterranean, with the traditional designs and style that had come to be widely accepted, the colony of Amphipolis was not so constrained by convention in the style of its coinage, and produced coins that come closest to representing in miniature the artistic style of Athenian sculpture of the period.
The coinage of Amphipolis has long been admired by numismatists. Catherine C. Lorber published her magisterial study of the city’s coinage in 1990, building upon the work of generations of numismatists, most notably the eminent Germans Kurt Regling and Willy Schwabacher.
Greece North, Macedon, Amphipolis Tetradrachm Coin
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