Numismatica Ars Classica > Auction 134Auction date: 21 November 2022
Lot number: 220

Price realized: 19,000 CHF   (Approx. 19,971 USD / 19,276 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Greek Coins. Islands off Thrace, Thasos.
Stater circa 412-404, AR 9.10 g. Ithyphallic satyr advancing r., carrying off protesting nymph; in upper r. field, I. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. Le Rider, Thasiennes 6 var. (different letter on obverse). Svoronos, Hellénisme Primitif, pl. X, 27–8 var. (different letter on obverse). cf. Triton sale XXII, 2019, 166. (these dies).
An extremely rare variety with Iota on obverse. Of excellent Classical style, struck
on a very large flan and complete. Light tone and extremely fine

The island of Thasos may have been the site of a Phoenician colony dedicated to extracting mineral resources in the ninth or early eighth century BC, but by the end of the eighth or the beginning of the seventh century BC, these early colonists had disappeared and were replaced by Greek settlers from Paros. The new Greek colony grew wealthy from the control of rich silver mines on the Thracian mainland facing Thasos and a brisk trade in the high-quality wine produced on the island. At the height of Thasian prosperity, the mines reportedly produced between 200 and 300 talents of silver per year. Due to the constant influx of silver into the coffers of Thasos, it is not surprising that the city produced an extensive coinage beginning already in the last quarter of the sixth century BC. From the very beginning, the standard type for Thasian staters featured an ithyphallic satyr carrying off a protesting nymph on the obverse and a quadripartite incuse square on the reverse. The satyr type may perhaps be a reference to the Thasian wine industry, since the satyrs were regular companions of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. On the other hand, the type may allude to the wild Thracian mainland from which Thasos derived its silver. The Greeks commonly considered the Thracians to be great practitioners of Dionysiac cults. Whatever the case, the Thasian types and weight standard became firmly established and had an impact on the development of coinages in both regions. The wide regional recognition of Thasian coinage encouraged typological conservatism and Thasos retained the same stater type for more than a century, changing to new types featuring Dionysus and Heracles only in ca. 404 BC. The present stater represents a late iteration of the Thasian type in which the old archaic style of the type has been updated to meet the high classical artistic style of the late fifth century BC. It is especially remarkable for the presence of the previously unpublished control mark to the right of the nymph's head. While other Greek letters are known, this is one of very few specimens to feature iota.


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Estimate: 10000 CHF