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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 10. Estimate CHF2500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF2000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

GAUL, Massalia or an uncertain mint in the Provence. Circa 525/0-480/70 BC. Obol (Silver, 1.14 g). Head of a goddess to right, with long hair shown by dots, frontal almond-shaped eye and round earring. Rev. Irregular incuse square. Furtwängler Pl. 41, 11. G. E. Reynaud, Un trésor de monnaies Massaliètes du Ve siècle, RN 1983, p. 36, 4 = pl. VI, 4 (same obverse die). Very rare. A startlingly fine provincial archaic head, reminiscent of the issues of Knidos. Minor marks, but toned, and, extremely fine.

Reynaud published a photographic record of a then recent hoard of Massaliote material that appeared on the Paris market, which contained a few pieces very much like this one. To this was joined a short but very erudite commentary by Mme Nicolet, in which she makes a good case for identifying the head on the obverse as that of Aphrodite rather than Artemis, as suggested by Furtwängler (pp. 38-39); she is undoubtedly right.