THRACO-MACEDONIAN TRIBES, Ichnai. Circa 485-470 BC. Octodrachm (Silver, 32mm, 28.97 g). ΙΧΝΑΙΟΝ (retrograde) Local hero, wearing kausia, walking to right and leading two bulls moving slowly to right. Rev. Wheel with four spokes within shallow incuse square. Jameson 946 = Svoronos Hell. Prim. p. 43, 2a, pl. IV, 5. Extremely rare, a lovely and superb example, probably the finest known of the type. Lightly toned with some minor areas of flatness, otherwise, good extremely fine.
From an American collection, purchased privately from Freeman & Sear in 2002.
The various tribal silver issues of the Thraco-Macedonian area were primarily produced as a way of exploiting the rich seams of precious metal found in those districts. This was especially true for the heavy octadrachms, which were a denomination ill-suited for any kind of daily use. This piece shows a local hero leading two bulls, a scene that was quite popular in northern Greece and which was used by several other issuing authorities, such as the Edonians and the Orreschii. The die used to strike the obverse of this coin is particularly well-made, and has a rude stylistic vigor that makes it a quite exceptional example of the art of the period. The sturdy figures are typically northern Greek in feel and were probably made by local die cutters who were both fully immersed in local traditions and fully aware of Greek techniques.
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