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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 22. Estimate CHF225000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF200000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Naxos. Circa 430-420 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 17.19 g 2), circa 425. Bearded head of Dionysos to right, wearing a hair band ornamented with an ivy wreath, and with his relatively short hair hanging loose in curly locks. Rev. ΝΑΞΙΟΝ Nude and bearded Silenos squatting, facing, his right knee raised, his left on the ground, and his tail coming out to left, turning his head to the left towards the two-handled, stemless drinking cup he holds in his right hand, and holding an upright thyrsos with his left; to left, ivy branch. Cahn 100. Jameson 677 (same dies). Kraay Hirmer 8-9 (same obverse die). Ward 225 (same dies). Very rare. A superb piece, well struck on a full flan. Extremely fine.

From the Spina collection and ex Sotheby’s, 14 October 1999, 15 (illustrated on the front cover).

Now we are in the presence of a fully classical head of Dionysos: his hair is short, albeit fashionably unruly, his beard is composed of numerous pointed ends (but it is neither luxuriously full or overly mannered), and he is wearing a beautifully made hair band (probably in gold) carefully ornamented with his favorite ivy leaves. This is a remarkably mannered head - the engraver has even given the god three ‘corkscrew’ curls hanging from his hair, which clearly suggest grape clusters, a remarkably apt coiffeur for the god of wine!