Classical Numismatic Group > Auction 123Auction date: 23 May 2023
Lot number: 35

Price realized: 5,000 USD   (Approx. 4,639 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:

SKYTHIA, Olbia. Circa 450-440 BC. Cast Æ (69mm, 136.32 g). Head of Athena left, wearing Attic helmet; to left, dolphin upward / Wheel with four spokes ('solar disk'); ΠAYΣ within quarters. Karyshkovskij p. 392, Таб. II=B, 1; Anokhin 164; cf. HGC 3, 1883 (smaller denomination). Green patina. VF. Very rare.

From the D.K. Collection. Ex Harlan J. Berk inventory cc96487 (ND); Triton XXIII (14 January 2020), lot 159.

The impressive cast bronzes of Olbia on the Black Sea in many ways presaged the development of the Aes Grave coinage in Italy, although the regions were separated by more than 1,000 miles. Olbia, a colony of Miletus located at the junction of the Hyspanis and Borysthenes rivers in the wilds of Skythia, grew prosperous on trade between the nomadic Skythians and the Greeks. It employed a unique form of coinage consisting of cast bronzes of various sizes and shapes. The smallest Olbian bronzes were made in the shape of dolphins; larger denominations were on circular flans and bore either a facing Gorgon's head or, as seen here, a helmeted head of Athena in profile. The reverse is a four-spoked wheel, also interpreted as a solar disk. Like the early Romans, the Olbians apparently traded these pieces at "true" value, as opposed to token value, meaning the largest denominations were truly immense and heavy.

Estimate: 3000 USD