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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 50. Estimate CHF10000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF17000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THRACO-MACEDONIAN REGION, Siris. Circa 520 BC. Stater (Silver, 8.94 g). On the left, nude, ithyphallic satyr walking left, holding his tail with his right hand and gesturing with his left toward a nymph, wearing long robes and walking to left, her left hand raised in greeting and holding a wreath in her right; between them, large pellet. Rev. Incuse square diagonally divided. BMC 8. BMFA 598. HPM p. 79, 3 = pl. XIX, 23. SNG ANS 947. Nicely toned and unusually well centered, a very attractive coin. Extremely fine.

In some ways this coin is very amusing! The Macedonian tribal groups who used their locally mined silver to produce coins for export were very fond of wine and were, thus, worshippers of Dionysos and his followers. For them the nymphs and satyrs were ever-present spirits in their daily lives. Here we see the beginning of what looks like negotiation: the satyr, somewhat nonchalantly twisting his long horse tail (do note his hooves as well), seems to be bargaining over the nymph’s favors. She raises her hand in shock at his presumption - of course she is going to end up with him in the end, but he better raise his offer!!