|Triton XIV, Lot: 300. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $3250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
Circa 650-600 BC. EL Trite – 1/3 Stater (12mm, 4.74 g). Milesian standard. Figural-on-striated type. Crude chimaira(?) right on striated background / Two square punches, both with raised lines within. Unpublished in the standard references, but cf. Gorny & Mosch 190, lot 250 for another example; for similar figural-on-striated obverse trites, cf. Weidauer 11-3, 18-25, and 177. VF. One of three known.
The following seven coins represent a new and unpublished early electrum series. We have decided to present all the available coins together in order to facilitate study of the design elements and of the different dies and punches. The series was struck in five denominations, with four represented here: stater, 1/3 stater (trite), 1/12 stater (hemihekte), and 1/24 stater. For the 1/6 stater (hekte), see Gorny & Mosch 190, lot 251.
Like a number of the other earliest known figural electrum coins, the design is engraved in dies that seem already to have had a striated pattern. Cf. Weidauer 10-14 (Milesian standard series with goat on striated background) and Triton VIII, lots 443-446 (Milesian standard series with confronted lion head and human male bust on a striated background). Like those series, the present coins also vary in their reverses according to denomination: the stater has a long central incuse flanked by two small square incuses, the trite has just the two small square incuses, and the smaller denominations have a single incuse. Altogether, the seven coins have 10 square incuses produced by four different punches. Three different obverse dies are represented. The stater and two of the trites are struck from the same obverse die (and the same two square punches). The other trite is struck from a different die and also one different square punch. The hekte and the five smaller coins (1/12 and 1/24) seem all to be struck from a single obverse die which, however, is different from those employed for the larger denominations. On their reverses, one of the punches used for the hekte was the punch used on all of the 1/12 staters, while the punch of the 1/24 was not used elsewhere. Interestingly, both the obverse die and common reverse punch of the hekte display the greatest amount of wear.
Despite the fact that we have seven coins here plus the Gorny & Mosch examples to compare, the actual design elements are indistinct. There seems clearly to be a central goat head arising out of the back of a larger animal. We think immediately of a chimaera. Although the head of the larger animal is not well defined on any of the specimens, the two front legs are quite clear on several of the pieces. Most perplexing is the rear of the monster, which is seen to be rather long and relatively thin (this is especially clear on one of the trites), without any indication of hind legs. It seems just possible that the rear of the monster might end in a fish tail rather than legs. We can hope that additional examples of this enigmatic series may come to light to enable us to gain a clearer understanding of what seems to be a remarkable design.