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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 105. Estimate CHF18500. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF26000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 525. Hekte (Electrum, 2.57 g). Head of eagle to left with frontal eye and hooked beak; dotted neck truncation; below, seal swimming to left Rev. Irregular incuse square. Bodenstedt -. Unpublished. Of great rarity, with a magnificent archaic eagle’s head of great vigor and a beautifully detailed seal. The finest of the three examples known. Good extremely fine.

This exceptional piece, which was unknown to Bodenstedt, should date to the late 6th century (Bodenstedt’s dates are generally thought to be somewhat high). For a similar but slightly later eagle head, see the later issues of Cypriot Paphos (as ACGC 1088 and Traité II, 1278 ff.) but these are somewhat more fussily done and lack the piercing look this eagle has. The only eagle heads that can compare with this one in power were those engraved over a century later by the artist Da... and his followers at Olympia.