Northern Greece. Islands of Thrace, Thasos.
Half-Stater or Drachm, c. 380 BC. (Gold, 3.95g., 12.9mm). Bearded head of Dionysos to left, wearing ivy wreath / ΘΑΣΙΟΝ Herakles, wearing lion-skin headdress and draped from the waist, kneeling to right, shooting an arrow from his bow; to right, Κ; all in a linear frame within an incuse square. West pl. 4, 30 var. (same obverse die but with Θ on the reverse).
Thasos (IACP 526), a city on an island of the same name in the northern Aegean off Thrace, was effectively a colony of Paros, c. 710-680 BC. The city became rich and important due to its silver and gold mines (both on the island itself and on the adjacent mainland, which it controlled), its timber resources and its wine production. Its history was a turbulent one. In the late 6th and early 5th century it was controlled by the Persians but then became an ally of Athens and part of the Delian League, from which the Thasians revolted in 466/5. They were finally defeated three years later and were firmly ensconced within the Athenian Empire. Late in the 5th century the Thasians threw out the Athenians with Spartan help. In 340/339 Thasos was taken by Philip II of Macedon and remained under Macedonian control until it was freed by the Romans in 196. Thasos produced an enormous number of silver coins as a way of profiting from the mines it controlled: this coinage began at the end of the 6th century BC and was particularly extensive during the 5th century (staters with a satyr and a nymph). New types were introduced during the 4th century, including gold half staters or drachms, such as this one. They were produced for trade purposes: no specific event can be convincingly associated with them. As is easily seen the artistic quality of these gold pieces is outstanding.
Grading/Status: Very rare and of a remarkably fine and polished classical style. Perfectly struck and well-centered. Good extremely fine.
Star Collection, LHS 102, 29 April 2008, 112.
Numismatica Ars Classica 8, 3 April 1995, 235.
Bank Leu 25, 23 April 1980, 91.
Bank Leu 2, 25 April 1972, 136.