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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90010069
Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 69. Estimate CHF10000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF14000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ELIS, Olympia. 91st Olympiad. 416 BC. Stater (Silver, 11.91 g 2), signed by Da.... Eagle’s head to left; below, large white poplar leaf with the signature ΔΑ below the center vein Rev. F Α Thunderbolt with wings and volutes above, and volutes below; above, uncertain countermark. BCD Olympia -.Gulbenkian 541 (=Seltman 148 i, ex Locker-Lampson and Weber). Seltman, Temple 148 (BS/γπ). SNG Copenhagen 368 (=Seltman 148 e). Very rare. A splendid example of one of the finest of all the eagle-head staters of Olympia. Struck in high relief with exceptional detail. Slightly rough surfaces and minor countermark, otherwise, extremely fine.


The engraver Da... (Daidalos?) was the first artist who signed the dies he engraved at Olympia. He seems to have been active from the late 420s down to the end of the century and he was responsible for what is possibly the finest eagle head ever to appear on a Greek coin (if not on any coin). The eagle was the bird of Zeus, and the creature on this coin shows the nobility of the god himself. It has what seems to be an all-seeing eye and what can only be termed an expression of great power. The coinage of Olympia is rather notorious for the often poor striking and poor preservation of most surviving coins: this piece is a wonderful exception to that rule.