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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90020099
Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 99. Estimate CHF5750. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF6500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ARKADIA, Pheneos. Circa 370-340 BC. Obol (Silver, 0.88 g 6). Bust of youthful Hermes to right, his cloak tied around his neck and with his petasos hanging behind, suspended by a cord. Rev. ΦΕ Ram standing to right; above, kerykeion to right. BCD 1608. BMC 5. Traité II, 3, 891. Weber 4317. Rare. A beautiful piece, sharp and minted from fresh dies. Virtually as struck.


For all intents and purposes this is a perfect coin - the moneyers at Pheneos seem to have taken inordinate pride in their work since badly struck pieces are very uncommon. It is more than likely that some of the obols were actually initially distributed to the citizenry as donatives, which would then be used commercially as the recipient wished. This type of usage has parallels to some of the late 5th century litrai struck in Sicily, which are often of such outstanding beauty that they must have been produced deliberately as prestige issues on the order of a wealthy magistrate (such as the famous litron from Akragas: AMB 263, SNG Lloyd 829).