Central Greece. Euboia, Chalkis.
Tetradrachm, c. 170 BC. (Silver, 16.94g., 31.3mm). Veiled head of Hera to right, wearing stephane, pendant earring and pearl necklace / ΧΑΛΚΙΔΕΩΝ Hera standing right, holding scepter in her right hand and reins in both, driving quadriga with horses walking to right; to left, Μ/Μ; to right, Σ; all within oak wreath tied on the left. BCD Euboia 235 (this coin). Picard - (but see issues 56 and 57).
This is unquestionably one of the great rarities of the Hellenistic coinage of Greece, and one of the most beautiful as well. Precisely why the city should have produced three issues of tetradrachms circa 170 is unclear, but since they are stylistically very close their striking could not have lasted very long and all probably relate to a single event. While the BCD cataloguer suggested that this coin was struck circa 180 that seems somewhat early, and it may be better to see these issues as having been struck to help the Romans in the late 170s, in the run up to the war against Perseus of Macedon. Chalkis (IACP 365) was one of the most important cities of Euboea, but not much is known about it prior to the late 6th century: it was heavily involved in western colonization, and supposedly fought a war with Eretria in the 8th century (the so-called Lelantine War). In 506 it was defeated by Athens and lost some territory; it remained a sometime ally of Athens through the 4th century (with occasional revolts). In 338 it was captured by Philip II and was one of the three great strongholds used to impose Macedonian control over Greece. The Romans seem to have partially destroyed the city in 146; in 86 it was a Pontic base. Since the modern city is atop the ancient site there are few coherent remains, other than its coinage.
Grading/Status: Unique. The only example of this issue known and one of only five Hellenistic tetradrachms of Chalkis in existence, the other four, from two issues, are all in museums (London, New York, Oxford and Paris). A superb piece of the finest style, beautifully s
Spina collection, Nomos 1, 6 May 2009, 64.
BCD collection, Lanz 111, 25 November 2002, 235 (cover coin).