Remarkable Dodekadrachm of the Derrones

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries next major ancient coin auction, the January New York International Numismatic Convention, is less than a month away! We have a lovely group of ancient coin highlights to preview and this week’s showcase coin (lot 44) is a large sized silver piece (40 grams) produced by the ancient Macedonian Tribes. The Derrones tribe occupied the northern Macedonia region and produced these enormous silver pieces ca. 480-465 B.C.

The minting process for this type (and other large sized Thraco-Macedonian silver issues) is intriguing. This coin and other similar types from the same region and time period are virtually all flat on the reverse and were likely produced in a different manner than most conventional ancient coinage. The Octodrachms of the Bisaltae, as well as the Octodrachms of Alexander I and the Dodekadrachms of the Derrones, were seemingly produced in a two part process. Flattening on the reverse would suggest the coins were struck with each die individually, rather than at the same time, most likely due to the massive size of the coins. The reverse design was the first to be struck; the coin would then be turned over and struck with the obverse design. On the coin offered here there is some flattening to the triskeles on the reverse. The reverse design featured on this coinage, although partially incuse, would be purely ornamental rather than a function of pushing metal into the obverse die. These Dodecadrachms of the Derrones are perhaps the best example of this double striking minting process, as they display a triskeles on the reverse predominantly found flattened or mashed as a result of the secondary strike. The initial planchets were undoubtedly cast as many examples are found with large air bubbles and regular formed flans. The piece offered here is struck on a well-rounded planchet that allows for nearly perfect centering, with virtually every aspect of both obverse and reverse dies present. The secondary strike was executed with evenly dispersed pressure allowing a nearly full triskeles on the reverse, quite a rare feat when one considers its age and the minting process detailed above. In addition to the excellent strike, the metal quality for this example is superb.

The obverse design features a slow biga driving right, pulled by two oxen. A large crested Corinthian style helmet appears just above the oxen in the upper field. The reverse field displays a large triskeles design within a shallow incuse square. As mentioned earlier, the triskeles appear with low relief due to the two strike minting process. This large Derrones Dodekadrachm is outstanding is sure to grab attention at the annual NYINC.

Look for this and other ancient and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming January New York International Numismatic Convention Auction and Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this December at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our Stack’s Bowers Galleries January New York International Numismatic Convention Auction is no longer open for consignments, we are currently taking consignments of ancient and world coins for our August 2015 ANA World’s Fair of Money Showcase Auction and our April 2015 Hong Kong Showcase Auction of Asian Coins and Currency. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors

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