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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 18. Estimate CHF275000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF320000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Naxos. Circa 530 -510 BC. Drachm (Silver, 5.57 g 4), Chalcidian standard, circa 530 BC. Head of Dionysos to left, with long, pointed beard, ivy wreath in his hair and a plain torc-like necklace bordered by dots at the truncation; around, border of dots within two linear circles. Rev. ΝΑΧ ΙΟΝ (retrograde) Bunch of grapes on stalk with two leaves. AMB 382 (this cin). Cahn 4 (this reverse die). Kraay Hirmer 3 ((this coin). Extremely rare. Toned and superb, one of the finest known specimens of the earliest coinage of Naxos. Perfectly struck and centered. Extremely fine.

From the Spina collection, ex Numismatica Ars Classica 25, 25 June 2003, 85 and from the collection of A. D. Moretti, Numismatica Ars Classica 13, 8 October 1998, 382.

This is one of the great masterpieces of archaic coinage from Sicily; and one of the rarest. The head of Dionysos, with his triangular frontal eye, hatched beard and dotted hair, has tremendous power: once can easily imagine how imposing a full-sized statue would have been. This coin was also influenced by the contemporary issues of Magna Graecia; the borders of dots between two linear circles are very similar as is the combination and relief designs on the reverse. When this coin was made the engravers were still a bit unsure of how the authorities wanted the legend to appear: as can be seen here, the engraver seems to have begun his retrograde legend on the lower right, moving counterclockwise, but then had to change his initial Ν to an Α and add both the Χ and the Ι in spaces that were clearly too small. Do note the great difference in style between this piece and the drachm in the following lot. The coins of Naxos from the Spina collection, which appear in this sale as lots 18-24, are one of the finest groups of coins from that mint assembled by a single collector.