Silver decadrachm of Athens leads bidding at CNG sale

Ancient, Byzantine, world coins in two Jan. 4 sessions
Published : 12/15/11
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A silver decadrachm in Classical Numismatic Group’s Jan. 4 Triton XV auction provides researchers new information about the timing of production of the famed rarities from Athens.

According to the firm, the highlight of the auction is the “second known example from the earliest obverse die in the dekadrachm series,” and because it lacks evidence of re-engraving, it is the earliest example struck.

Forty-four examples of the famed ancient coin rarity have been identified by author/expert Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, and this coin appears to match coins classified as coming from obverse die 0, the earliest example struck, according to the catalog.

The coin in the Jan. 4 auction was struck circa 469/5 to 460 B.C. and is “beautifully centered and struck with virtually complete designs on both sides, some typical minor surface roughness, [with a] flan flaw on owl.” In Extremely Fine condition, it has an estimate of $200,000.

The silver decadrachm of Athens is the highlight of the final of three catalogs the firm published for auctions scheduled during the New York International Numismatic Convention. CNG offers nearly 2,000 lots of ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Celtic, Islamic and world coins in two sessions Jan. 4, in addition to other properties in other catalogs (previews of those sales may be found at

All successful bids are subject to an 18 percent buyer’s fee, with a discount to 15 percent for certain payment and bidding methods.

Virtual catalogs may be viewed at the firm’s website, and are accessible through; printed catalogs may be ordered from the firm for a fee.

For more information, telephone the firm at 717-390-9194, email it at or visit its website.

Some additional highlights:

Greece, Sicily, Naxos, circa 415 to 403 B.C. silver hemidrachm, 2.1 grams, Lot 1056, Superb Extremely Fine.

Greece, Sicily, Panormos (as Ziz), circa 405 to 380 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 17.17 grams, “fine style and struck from dies influenced by the Sicilian masters,” Lot 1067, “wonderfully toned,” Superb EF.

Greece, Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysios I, circa 405 to 400 B.C. silver decadrachm, 43.26 grams, “unsigned dies in the style of Euainetos, Lot 1075, “lightly toned, a hint of die rust, minor marks on edge,” EF.

Greece, Macedon, Chalkidian League, circa 365 to 359 B.C. or 357 to 348 B.C. gold stater, 8.62 grams, Olynthos Mint, “unpublished,” “only two have appeared at auction in recent decades,” “approximately 11 staters of the League are known,” Lot 1107, Near EF.

Greece, Elis, Olympia, 105th Olympiad, 360 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 12.14 grams, “the seventh known, one of only two not in a museum collection,” Lot 1180, Good Very Fine.

Greece, Arkadia, Arkadian League, circa 363 to 362 B.C. silver stater, 12.19 grams, Lot 1182, “lightly toned,” Near EF.

Greece, Mysia, Kyzikos, early to mid-fourth century B.C. electrum stater, 16.05 grams, Lot 1202, “a few light deposits,” Good VF.

Greece, Mysia, Pergamon, circa 350 to 320 B.C. gold stater, 8.62 grams, Lot 1204, “underlying luster, light cleaning hairlines, a few nicks in the field,” Superb EF.

Greece, Kings of Lydia, Kroisos, circa 550 B.C. gold stater, heavy standard, prototype issue, Sardes Mint, 10.77 grams, “among the finest known,” Lot 1243, “fully lustrous,” EF.

Oriental Greece, Baktria, pre-Seleukid era, uncertain ruler, fourth century B.C. gold issue, 3.44 grams, “unique,” Lot 1342, “traces of deposits in devices, a couple of minor field marks,” Near EF.

Oriental Greece, Baktria, Greco-Baktrian kingdom, Plato Epiphanes, circa 145 to 140 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 16.92 grams, Lot 1348, “areas of light toning, excellent metal,” Good VF.

Oriental Greece, Baktria, Indo-Greek Kingdom, Zoilos I Dikaios, circa 150 to 130 B.C. silver tetradrachm, 9.8 grams, “second and finest known example,” Lot 1349, “toned,” EF.

Oriental Greece, Baktria, Indo-Greek Kingdom, Heliodotos, late second to early first century B.C. gold unit, 2.71 grams, “unique and historically important,” “previously unknown king,” Lot 1362, “double strike on obverse,” EF.

India, Kushan Empire, Vima Kadphises, circa A.D. 100 to 137/8 gold dinar, third emission, 7.85 grams, “unique and previously unknown dinar,” Lot 1367, Good VF.

Roman Republic, the Triumvirs, Mark Antony and Mark Antony Junior, spring to summer 34 B.C. gold aureus, 7.97 grams, “only the 11th known specimen,” Lot 1483, “scattered bumps and bruises, including some light edge marks from a prior mounting,” VF.

Roman Imperial, Nero, circa A.D. 64 bronze sestertius, Rome Mint, Lot 1498, “green patina, with dusty highlights,” Choice EF.

Roman Imperial, late fourth century A.D. bronze contorniate medal, 30.08 grams, “one of the finest contorniates in existence,” Lot 1569, “untouched green patina, traces of earthen deposits,” EF.

Byzantine, Nicephorus III Botaniantes, 1078 to 1081 silver bulla of 2 solidi, 8.86 grams, “extremely rare and enigmatic type, with only one other published example of this weight class,” Lot 1648, “some minor roughness,” VF.

Italy, Genova, the Biennial Doges, 1719/5 silver da 6 scudi, “a previously unknown date for this denomination,” Lot 1761, “toned, a few marks and some striking flaws,” VF. ■

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