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A New Favorite


kirispupis
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For some time I've been after a tet of Eumenes I. In fact, it was a Pri 1 on my list, but because they're common and can go high, I rarely bid. Typically, I placed them on my watch list and when they went beyond my budget, I removed them. This one, though, stayed relatively low. From the photos, it seemed of high enough quality to be a nice coin, but with enough flaws to drive away those that put these in the stratosphere. So, I bid and, to my amazement, I won it!

The Attalid coins have an interesting history. It was started by Philetairos, who wielded substantial autonomy from the Seleukids. Philetairos minted tets of his own, initially with Seleukos I Nikator (rare and very pricy) and then with himself (still rare). Because he was a eunuch, he adopted Eumenes I to succeed him. Eumenes, upon taking power, fully rebelled against the Seleukids and established his own kingdom. He continued to mint coins with the image of Philetairos.

After Eumenes I, Attalos I also minted similar coins. Eumenes II followed the tradition, but also minted a small number with his own portrait. My understanding is Eumenes II minted the last tets, though Attalos II and Attalos III minted bronzes.

When I received my coin yesterday, I was absolutely stunned. I'll need to figure a better way to display this, but its relief is incredible. I feel like I'm on the Haunted House ride in Disney with the talking heads. I actually tried to animate the head, but it seems the technology is too geared on forward facing heads. This is easily one of my most stunning coins to hold in hand.

What I find so interesting about this portrait, too, is that they made no attempt to hide how large Philetairos' head was. It's one of the few portraits where you suspect that he looked pretty much like that.

Feel free to show your Attalid coins or other high reliefs!

331A2604-Edit.jpg.16c5781c012c83d3f34f15f18a4d959f.jpg

KINGS of PERGAMON. Eumenes I
Struck circa 255/0-241 BCE
AR Tetradrachm 29mm, 16.89 g, 1h
In the name of Philetairos. Pergamon mint
Laureate head of Philetairos right
Athena enthroned left, elbow resting on shield to right, crowning dynastic name; transverse spear in background, grape bunch to outer left, A to inner left, bow to right.
Westermark Group V (unlisted dies); SNG BN 1618
Ex CNG 2015
Ex Lampasas Collection
Ex CNG 2022

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Not just the portrait. Athena's arms and legs are impressive too, wouldn't like to wrestle against her.

This is what I would call a perfect ancient coin. For some reason I am less attracted by perfect coins (this is also true for my modern coins). In my book, an ancient coin needs to show some wear (but not extensive), some minor pitting, even if I admire exceptional coins I want to see that it's thousands of years old. I have nothing against test cuts if they don't obstruct the design/legends. The only thing I don't like about this specimen is the uneven toning but this can be easily ignored.

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great portrait! i have one of attalos i i've posted a couple times before. one thing i'm a bit confused on is why the ear of my coin is flattened. looks like someone filed the ear down for some reason

image.jpeg.5e559eb68db665d486623c8c440ac1c0.jpeg

Kingdom of Pergamon, Attalos I AR Tetradrachm. Struck in the name of Philetairos. Pergamon, circa 241-197 BC. Laureate head of Philetairos to right / Athena seated to left, resting elbow on shield, holding transverse spear and crowning ΦIΛETAIPOY to left with wreath; palm branch to outer left, monogram to inner left, bow to right. Westermark Group VIA; BMC 40 (Eumenes II); SNG BnF 1621. 17.04g, 27mm, 11h.

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2 hours ago, Cordoba said:

great portrait! i have one of attalos i i've posted a couple times before. one thing i'm a bit confused on is why the ear of my coin is flattened. looks like someone filed the ear down for some reason

image.jpeg.5e559eb68db665d486623c8c440ac1c0.jpeg

Kingdom of Pergamon, Attalos I AR Tetradrachm. Struck in the name of Philetairos. Pergamon, circa 241-197 BC. Laureate head of Philetairos to right / Athena seated to left, resting elbow on shield, holding transverse spear and crowning ΦIΛETAIPOY to left with wreath; palm branch to outer left, monogram to inner left, bow to right. Westermark Group VIA; BMC 40 (Eumenes II); SNG BnF 1621. 17.04g, 27mm, 11h.

I have seen similar to that but can't remember where to reference it. The conclusion as far as I recall is that the highest part of the relief was lowered to enable the coin to fit in a capsule. Although why someone would willingly damage a coin for this reason is totally beyond my comprehension.

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On 11/14/2022 at 12:35 PM, NewStyleKing said:

Would you like to tell us of the reasoning behind the attribution of one philaterei from another.What do the hoards and cross mint marks say?  Its nice having a coin  but does it speak?

As far as I know, there is no study in English. It is therefore difficult to study the details of this coinage if you don't read German and French.

The overall arrangement in 7 groups is by Imhoof-Blumer in 1884. It is based on a stylistic study and on die links. Successive scholars have confirmed the robustness of this relative chronology (Von Fritze 1910, Westermark 1961, Le Rider 1989 and Marcellesi 2012)

Westermark has analysed the hoards in order to establish an absolute chronology modified by Le Rider based on the Meydancıkkale hoard (1980).

The standard attributions today are :

Group I and II struck by Philetairos
Group III to V struck by Eumenes I (263-241 BC)
Group VIa struck by Attalos I
Group VIb Attalos I and Eumenes II (220 - 190 BC)
Group VII after 189 BC

The obverse of  group I represents the portrait of Seleucos I

ImhoofG1.JPG.6e237e86b24920da2a4b2fdaabf401fe.JPG

The others the portrait of Philetairos

Imhoof_groupes.jpg.e6355e0e00d56b97c4e0574fc9c095b5.jpg

 

The Westermark study "Das Bildnis des Philetairos von Pergamon" is really worst a read.

 

 

 

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