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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 90. Estimate CHF7500. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF10500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MYSIA, Kyzikos. Circa 550-500 BC. Stater (Electrum, 16.05 g). Head of a goat with long beard to left; behind truncation, tunny fish swimming upwards Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. BMFA 1421. Rosen 438 (this coin). SNG France 186. Von Fritze I; 48 (this coin). Very rare. Nicely centered. Slightly porous surfaces, otherwise, about extremely fine.

From the Spina collection and from the collections of Marian A. Sinton, Triton III, 30 November 1999, 487, J. P. Rosen, Monnaies et Médailles 72, 6 October 1987, 184, the Vicomte de Sartiges and G. Philipsen, Hirsch XXV, 29 November 1909, 1751.

Male goats were associated with Dionysos and Pan and with the all of the woodland and pastoral spirits of the world of Greek mythology. In fact, the word ‘tragedy’ comes from the Greek for ‘goat song’ and refers to the fact that sacrificial goats were prizes in the dramatic contests that were part of the Athenian festival in honor of Dionysos. They were also admired for their potency and exuberance. Kyzikos was famous for its extensive electrum coinage, which began in the 6th century and continued down until the time of Alexander. It was particularly important for trade with the cities and peoples along the Black Sea. Unlike most other coinages that utilized a single type to make their products easily recognizable, the staters and fractions of Kyzikos used a small city-badge, the tunny fish (sometimes just the head or part of the fish on small denominations) combined with a much larger type that varied from issue to issue and was the blazon of the magistrate responsible for the issue itself. There are, thus, hundreds of individual types on the Kyzikene coinage: some are taken from well known works of art, others are more personal in nature, in some cases it looks as if the engraver involved specialized in certain kinds of representations (such as mythological creatures) and a number of what may be consecutive issues bear related scenes. Whether the issues were produced yearly or more often is unknown. The same goat head appears on a somewhat later hekte from Phokaia, Bodenstedt 51.