nomos 22
22 June 2021 16:00 CET
Zunfthaus zur Saffran, Zurich
Lot 154
Estimate: 12500 CHF
Hammer Price:
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KINGS OF PONTOS. Mithradates VI Eupator, circa 120-63 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 30 mm, 16.59 g, 2 h), Amaseia or Sinope, c. 115/114. Diademed head of Mithradates VI to right, shown as a young man with slightly unruly hair, a short beard on his cheeks and below his chin, and with his diadem ends fluttering behind him. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ // ΜΙΘΡΑΔΑΤΟΥ/ [Ε]ΥΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ Pegasos standing left on a harpa, his right leg bent at the knee and his head bent down to graze; above Pegasos's head to left, eight-rayed star above crescent; below belly, monogram. De Callataÿ -, but see D2/R2 for a very similar die pair. HGC 7 -. Cf. Waddington 116 and Winterthur 2388 (same types but struck from different dies). Some traces of corrosion and minor marks, otherwise, good very fine.

From a Swiss collection, ex Nomos 17, 26 October 2018, 149.

This coin is not only extremely rare, but it also bears one of the finest and most realistic portraits ever to have appeared on a Greek coin. Mithradates VI Eupator was born c. 135 BC and became king upon the assassination of his father, Mithradates V, in 120. He was, however, under the regency of his mother Laodike VI; because of his adamantly independent nature, and his mother's obvious preference for his younger brother Mithradates Chestos, Eupator felt increasingly threatened. Considering how prevalent murder by poison was in Hellenistic courts (Eupator's father was murdered by poison at a banquet), his fear was surely justified. So, along with a small number of his friends who served as his loyal companions, he went into a self-imposed internal exile during which he traveled all around his kingdom. Living rough most of the time, surviving by hunting – though often staying in local palaces or lodges – Eupator also carefully visited and familiarized himself with all of the military units in his kingdom. After approximately five years he returned, disposed of both his mother and younger brother (though he gave them honorable funerals), and began his tumultuous reign.

The tetradrachm and stater coinage of Mithradates VI has been ably studied by the distinguished Belgian scholar François de Callataÿ; he divided them into two main groups, an undated series, which he implied began c. 100 and a much more massive dated series (separated into less and more idealized portrait groups) beginning c. 96. However, Eupator was a very active campaigner who expanded his kingdom considerably in the years prior to 100, and the possibility that he had issued no coinage at all during that period seems unlikely in the extreme. In fact, those undated issues actually fall into a number of groups, which are not only stylistically distinct but chronologically as well. The present coin, and the other three known examples of this group, was issued at the time of Eupator's return to full power in c. 115. It differs from all of his remaining issues by having a powerfully realistic portrait of the young king (then about 20): he is shown with a light, straggly beard and traces of a moustache, somewhat unruly hair, and a determined expression. In addition, the reverse shows Pegasos feeding left with a harpa below, and with the inscriptions above and underneath the type. All but the very earliest remaining issues show him beardless and an increasingly idealised, Alexander-the-Great-like portrait (similar to those on the coinage of Lysimachos).
Current Status
Online bidding closes:
22 Jun 2021 10:00:00 CEST
Current Date & Time:
19 Sep 2021 13:47:58 CEST
Remaining Time:
Closed
Hammer Price:
22000 CHF

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Lot 154
Estimate: 12500 CHF
KINGS OF PONTOS. Mithradates VI Eupator, circa 120-63 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 30 mm, 16.59 g, 2 h), Amaseia or Sinope, c. 115/114. Diademed head of Mithradates VI to right, shown as a young man with slightly unruly hair, a short beard on his cheeks and below his chin, and with his diadem ends fluttering behind him. Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ // ΜΙΘΡΑΔΑΤΟΥ/ [Ε]ΥΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ Pegasos standing left on a harpa, his right leg bent at the knee and his head bent down to graze; above Pegasos's head to left, eight-rayed star above crescent; below belly, monogram. De Callataÿ -, but see D2/R2 for a very similar die pair. HGC 7 -. Cf. Waddington 116 and Winterthur 2388 (same types but struck from different dies). Some traces of corrosion and minor marks, otherwise, good very fine.
Hammer Price: 22000 CHF
Lot 155
Estimate: 1500 CHF
KINGS OF PONTOS. Mithradates VI Eupator, circa 120-63 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 30 mm, 16.58 g, 12 h), Pergamon, year HΣ, month B = 208, month 2 = November 90 BC. Diademed head of Mithradates VI to right. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ - MIΘPAΔATOY / EYΠATOPOΣ Pegasos grazing to left; in inner field to left, star within crescent; in inner field to right, ΗΣ over monogram; below, in the exergue, Β; around, ivy wreath with berries. De Callataÿ Revisiting O41/R 8 (same dies). With a splendid, realistic and unidealised portrait of the Pontic ruler. Minor marks and scratches, otherwise, about extremely fine.
Hammer Price: 2200 CHF
Lot 156
Estimate: 2500 CHF
MYSIA. Kyzikos. Circa 550-500 BC. Hekte (Electrum, 10.5 mm, 2.68 g). Head of a growling lioness to left; behind, tunny fish swimming upwards. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. SNG Paris 180. Von Fritze I 39. Well-struck and well-centered with a powerful leonine head. Usual minor flan breaks, otherwise, extremely fine.
Hammer Price: 2500 CHF
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