Central Greece. Euboia, Eretria.
Tetradrachm, c. 525 - 500 BC. (Silver, 17.03g., 35mm). Ε (retrograde) Bull standing to left, turning his head back to right and scratching his nose with his left hind leg; on his back, swallow standing to left / Octopus, within shallow incuse square. BCD Euboia 306 = H. A. Cahn, Monnaies Grecques Archaïques (Basel 1947), 14 (this coin, taken from a cast made for the plates of Hirsch XIII). BMC 21. De Luynes 2020. Traité II, 1, 1070 (this coin cited).
Along with Chalcis, Eretria (IACP 370) was one of the two most important cities of Euboia: little is known about it save what can be gleaned from archaeology prior to the very late 6th century. Eretria supported the Ionian Revolt and was, in reprisal, besieged by the Persians in 490: the city fell due to treachery by two aristocrats and was burnt. Nevertheless, Eretrian contingents later appeared on the Greek side at both Salamis and Plataia. For much of the remainder of the 5th century Eretria was allied to Athens but there were frequent revolts, primarily because of stasis within the city. There were also alternations between tyrannical and democratic governments. It is quite intriguing that this coin and the two in London and Paris all come from 19th century collections; could it be that they all came from an unrecorded hoard of the 1850s?
Grading/Status: Extremely rare, the third, and best, example of this type known (the others are in the British Museum and in Paris, from the De Luynes collection, donated in 1862). Beautifully toned and struck on an unusually broad flan. Good very fine.
Nomos Fixed Price List 2008, 35.
BCD Collection, Lanz 111, 25 November 2002, 306.
Collections of J. W. Garrett and the Johns Hopkins University, Bank Leu and Numismatic Fine Arts, 16 October 1984, 213.
Collection of C. S. Bement, Naville VI, 28 January 1923, 1069.
Collection of A. Rhousopoulos, J. Hirsch XIII, 15 May 1905, 1896.