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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 83. Estimate CHF75000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF65000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BOEOTIA, Thebes. Circa 405-395 BC. Stater (Silver, 11.97 g). Boeotian shield. Rev. Θ-Ε Head of bearded Dionysos three-quarter facing, turned slightly to the right, wearing ivy wreath; all within a very shallow circular incuse. BCD Boiotia 457 (same dies). Head, Boeotia p. 41 = BMC 104, pl. XIV, 9. Jameson 1164 (same reverse die). Very rare. An attractive and splendid coin of great beauty. Nearly extremely fine.

From the collection of APCW, ex Nomos List 3, 2010, 60.

This is surely the most majestic and noble facing head of Dionysos to be found anywhere on ancient Greek coinage. He has a serene beauty that is in contrast to the wild and orgiastic nature the god can have on other occasions; his eyes are clear here, and his gaze penetrating. It is interesting to note that the artist who made the dies for this coin seems to have been following a Theban tradition in not including any trace of the god’s neck, as with the facing heads of Herakles that appear on Theban staters about a generation earlier (BCD 422-423): this gives the portrait an ethereal, almost other worldly feel, as if the god is actually looking out from a swirl of clouds at the viewer.