Lot 104. Thrace, Mesambria. Ca. 245/35-215 B.C. Æ.
Thrace, Mesambria. Ca. 245/35-215 B.C. Æ (17 mm, 5.81 g, 10 h). Crested helmet with cheek guard right / METAM-BPIANΩN, inside of shield showing cross supports and handle. Karayotov II pp. 41-6; cf. HGC 3.2, 1572 (helmet left). Black patina with microporosity. Crudely engraved obverse of terrible cartoonish style. Extremely fine.
Mesambria was settled by Megarian colonists on the Black Sea coast in the sixth century B.C. It stood out as the only successful Dorian Greek colony in the region, often competing against neighboring Apollonia Pontika for a share in the lucrative Black Sea grain trade. As an important source of mercenaries in the late Classical and Hellenistic periods, it is not surprising that a helmet was chosen as an obverse type for the city's coinage. Although the reverse of Mesambria's coinage employed different types, the inside of a shield depicted on this reverse also alludes to the military nature of Mesambria's citizens. One interesting aspect of Mesambria's Greek coinage issues stuck before the end of the third century is the use of T for Σ in the inscription, as can be seen on this coin.