Northern Greece. Macedon, Akanthos.
Tetradrachm, c. 500 BC. (Silver, 17.18g., 23.7mm). Lion to right, attacking bull, collapsing to left with its head raised; below, going through the exergual line, floral ornament (lotos flower) downwards / Quadripartite incuse square with irregular surfaces. Classical Numismatic Group 84, May 2010, 204. Cf. Desneux 1 (but lacking the flower).
Akanthos (IACP 559) was founded in the early 7th century, possibly by colonists from Andros. It served as a base for the Persians during Xerxes’ s invasion of Greece in 480 but it later became an Athenian ally. In 424 the city went over to the Spartan commander Brasidas; in 350 it was captured by Philip II. Perhaps the most exciting relic of the ancient city is its coinage bearing the age-old oriental motif of the struggle between a lion and a bull, which served as the city’s badge (the choice of type may possibly be explained by its early connection with Persia). This coinage began when the city was still under Persian influence in c. 500 BC and continued on until the mid 4th century when its independence was lost. The only changes were stylistic ones related to developments in art and epigraphy, and a switch in weight standards from the Attic to the Phoenician in c. 424. This piece, with its thick flan and high relief types, is a perfect example of how beautiful these coins could be.
Grading/Status: This is an extremely rare example of one of the earliest known tetradrachms of Akanthos, and is a remarkably fine and vigorous piece of late Archaic art. Nicely toned and extremely fine.
Numismatica Genevensis SA V, 2 December 2008, 61.
Bank Leu 48, 10 May 1989, 106.