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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1321. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SARMATIA, Olbia. late 5th Century BC. Cast Æ Obol (142.56 gm). Head of Athena left, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; dolphin before / Four-spoked wheel; P-A-U-S in angles. Anokhin, Coins of Ancient Cities of the North-West Black Sea Coast, 8; SNG BMC Black Sea -; SNG Stancomb -. Nearly as cast, grayish-green patina with some earthen encrustation. Extremely rare. ($5000)

The cast series of Olbia has a close resemblance to the Italian aes grave both of whose function was to provide denominations in bronze at its intrinsic value. The theoretical ratio of silver to bronze in Italy before 217 BC was about 1:144 and this would presumably have been much the same in the Black Sea region. The silver staters issued by Olbia are on the Aeginetan standard of about 12.2 gm., which divided by 12 gives us a silver obol of about 1 gm., the equivalent of a bronze obol of about 144 gm. This rare issue, along with the quarter-obol (SNG BM Black Sea 377-378), by mint master Paus is characterized by the depiction on the obverse of Athena after the ubiquitous archaic tetradrachms of Athens, Seltman Group M, of about 480 BC. The reverse repeats the four-spoked wheel or 'solar disk' of the celebrated stater issued by Eminakos in about 425 BC (cf. SNG BM Black Sea 358).