Northern Greece. Macedon, First District.
Tetradrachm, Amphipolis, c. 168 BC. (Silver, 16.82g., 29.5mm). Bearded head of Zeus to right, wearing oak-wreath / ΜΑΚΕ –ΔΟΝΩΝ / ΠΡΩΤΗΣ Artemis Tauropolis reclining left on the back of a bull moving to left, his horns draped with a fillet; she carries a burning torch in each hand; below, at center, monogram of ΑΝΗΡ; below, to right, monogram of ΑΡΧΗ. M. Price, The Larissa, 1968 hoard (IGCH 237). Kraay-Mørkholm Essays, p. 237, 213 (this coin).
This coin was struck at the mint of Amphipolis, the capital city of the first district of Macedon, one of the four regions into which the Romans had divided the Macedonian kingdom. Amphipolis (IACP 553) was originally called Ennea Hodoi (‘nine roads’) and was a settlement of the Edoni: it was turned into an Athenian colony in 437/6. After various vicissitudes it was captured by Philip II in 357 and became one of the most important cities of Macedon. This coin was presumably struck to celebrate the creation of the autonomous First District, but it was only produced for a very short period prior to the decree of the Roman Senate closing down the Macedonian silver mines. It comes from one of the more unusual hoards that have come down to us from antiquity; unusual because of the curious way it was found. During the construction of an apartment building in Larissa the foundations were dug out by a large mechanical digger, which shoveled considerable amounts of dirt into trucks to be carted away and dumped. This dump was located outside the city in the village of Sitochoro, where it served as landfill. A petrol station was across the road from the dump and its sign was being fixed by two workers who had climbed up to the top of it. In the light of the setting sun they noticed gleams coming from the earth across the street. Climbing down to investigate they began finding large numbers of silver coins. Later that night, when things were calm, they came back and dug through the dump, finding well over 1600 coins! Price’s article provides full details. While tremendously exciting because of the coins it contained, this hoard is also fascinating evidence about how coin hoards can actually be dug up without anyone noticing, and be transported fairly far away before being found. A perfect parallel is the great Feldstrasse hoard of Roman aurei from Trier (K.-J. Gilles, Der römische Goldmünzenschatz aus der Feldstrasse in Trier. Trier, 2013)
Grading/Status: A coin of great rarity, one of perhaps 8 examples known, and one of an exceptionally fine late Hellenistic style. Attractively toned. Extremely fine.
Numismatica Genevensis SA V, 2 December 2008, 79.
Bank Leu 50, 25 April 1990, 125.
Bank Leu 22, 8 May 1979, 84.
Sitochoro / Larissa Hoard of 1968 (IGCH 237).