Thrace, Abdera - Unique and of Considerable Importance

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The Thrace 1980 hoard found wrapped in a sheet of lead near Abdera is of very considerable numismatic significance. The presence in this uncirculated hoard of posthumous Philip II types issued under Philip III together with the second known Abderan gold stater indicates that May’s period IX, dated to c. 375-360, should be considerably lowered. Another hoard from Kasamovo in Bulgaria, found in 1894 (IGCH 741), but not noted by May, Kraay and Jenkins, in which the epimeletai (overseers or supervisors, commonly called magistrates by modern numismatists) from periods V, VIII and IX are present together with coins of the Thracian Chersonese on a similar weight standard, also argue for the down dating of these three periods.

The metrology of the later Abderan coinage is complex in the extreme, to the point that the only gold piece known at the time (signed by the epimeletes ΙΚΕΣΙΟΥ, weighing 6.42 and now in Oxford) is defined as a stater on p. 39, but as a half-stater on pp. 265, 267, 269 and on p. 274, catalogue no. 462. The discovery of the Abdera 1980 hoard gold stater signed by Polyphantos confirms a local Thracian weight standard of about 6.4 grams, exactly the double of two extant ‘half-staters’ of nearby Maroneia with an average weight of 3.2 grams (cf, Schönert-Geiss, Maroneia, 597, 1-2). The above newly discovered gold 1/4 Stater is logically based on the ‘Attic’ gold standard, which was presumably intended to circulate with the gold 1/4 staters in the name of Philip of the same weight, dated to c. 336-328 BC (cf, Le Rider 47-82 and SNG ANS 281-227).

Thrace, Abdera AV 1/4 Stater. Epimeletes Polyphantos, circa 336-311 BC. ΑΒΔΗ-ΡΙΤΕΩΝ, Griffin crouching left / Laureate head of Apollo left, ΕΠΙ ΠΟΛ-ΥΦΑΝΤΟΥ around. Unique and unpublished; for the same empimeletes, cf. J.M.F. May, The Coinage of Abdera (540-345 BC), edited by C.M. Kraay and G.K. Jenkins, Issue IX, London 1966, Group CXXXVII 547-8; M. Price, ‘Thrace, 1980’, in Coin Hoards VII, 1985, pp. 42-3, 50, fig. 5, 15 [= Triton sale 2, 1998, 347 (6.40g) = Leschorn II, p. 766]. 2.10g, 12mm, 12h.

Very Fine. Unique and of significant numismatic interest.