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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 31. Estimate CHF30000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF33000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CIMMERIAN BOSPOROS, Pantikapaion. Circa 340-325 BC. Stater (Gold, 9.09 g 2). Head of a satyr to left, wearing ivy wreath. Rev. ΠΑΝ Griffin prancing to left, his head facing with a spear in his jaws, his right forepaw raised and with his left on a grain ear. MacDonald 54. SNG BM Black Sea 867. Some scattered marks and scratches, otherwise, good very fine.

The gold issues of Pantikapaion are a fascinating series, even a romantic one. The city was where the gold from the steppes in the East reached the Greek world, but mystery shrouded its origins. It was said to be hoarded by griffins from which it was stolen by intrepid adventurers. In fact, the gold came from sources far to the east, where the fossilized bones of a dinosaur, the protoceratops, undoubtedly gave rise to the myth of the griffin. The grain ear betneath the creature refers to another source of Pantikapaion’s great wealth.