18 December 2022
MACEDON. Akanthos. Circa 430-390 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 25 mm, 13.93 g, 7 h), struck under the magistrate Alexi(o)s, c. 370 BC. ΑΛΕΞΙΣ Lion to right, attacking bull collapsing to left; below, Z(?). Rev. ΑΚΑ-Ν-ΘΙΟ-Ν in shallow incuse square around quadripartite square with stippled quarters in relief. Cf. Desneux 144 corr. (D136/R-; Z on the obverse not noted; reverse die not recorded). HGC 3.1, 391. SNG ANS 15 var. (without exergual line). Struck from a finely engrave obverse die. good very fine.
The lion and bull tetradrachms of Akanthos were issued in very large numbers for export to take advantage of the abundant silver in the area. As a result they are found over a wide area in the East, ranging from Egypt to the borders of India (their type was an ancient eastern symbol as well). On this tetradrachm, finely engraved from attractive dies, the agony in the victim's expression is almost palpable. Since the publication of Desneux's die-study in 1949, "Les tétradrachmes d'Akanthos" in Revue belge de numismatique 95, a large number of new dies have appeared (as, for example, the reverse die of this coin), as well as a few new magistrates. A new corpus of the dies would be beneficial.