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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90020095
Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 95. Estimate CHF25000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF20000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ARKADIA, Mantineia. Circa 490-470 BC. Triobol (Silver, 5). Bear, the transformed nymph Kallisto, walking to left with open jaws. Rev. ΜΑ Three acorns arranged in a triangle; letter of the legend below and to right; oak leaf on the left; all within a triangular incuse. BCD Peloponnesos 1449. BMC 2 and 4 (bear left), 3 (same reverse die). Extremely rare and unusually well preserved, but with slightly porous surfaces. Nearly extremely fine.


The first coins of Mantinea celebrate the myth of Kallisto, the nymph who was seduced by Zeus and became the the mother of Arkas, the eponymos hero of the Arkadians. She and her son were changed into bears by Zeus in order to protect them from Hera’s anger; later they became the constellations Ursa Major and Minor. Kallisto only appears as a bear on the early coinage of Mantinea; she is portrayed as a beautiful young woman on the later coinage of the Arkadians, as on the following coin and on lot 93 above. This piece is one of the finest known examples of the type.