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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 79. Estimate CHF5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF5400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLANDS off ATTICA, Aegina. Circa 550-530/25 BC. Stater (Silver, 12.30 g). Sea turtle, with no collar and an almost smooth carapace. Rev. “Union Jack” pattern reverse with eight segments, some partially filled up. Holloway, Early, class A, 4. H.Cahn, Griechische Münzen archaischer Zeit (Basel, 1947) 11 (same dies). Extremely rare, one of the earliest issues of Aegina. Well centered and struck, and with even wear, good very fine.

From the Patrick H. C. Tan Collection, ex Classical Numismatic Group 76, 12 September 2007, 504.

This is actually one of the earliest issues of Aegina, just after those struck with irregular incuse reverses; it has a remarkable monumentality. The turtle on this coin does not just relate to Aegina’s position as an island, or to the possibility that the turtle was sacred to Aegina’s ancient goddess Aphaia (she may have Minoan origins), but is actually a pun. The Aeginetans called their pre-monetary plano-convex silver ingots ‘turtles’ because of their shape: thus, when they began to strike coins what better type could they have chosen to advertise the high quality of their silver!