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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90030084
Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 84. Estimate CHF85000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF100000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BOEOTIA, Thebes. Circa 395 BC. Hemidrachm (Electrum, 3.04 g 4). Bearded head of Dionysos to right, wearing ivy wreath. Rev. ΘΕ The infant Herakles seated facing, strangling two serpents. From the collection of C. Gillet, ‘Kunstfreund’, Bank Leu/Münzen und Medaillen, 28 May 1974, 198. Extremely rare. A fine and important coin with a noble head of Dionysos, rather ‘Zeus-like’ in its majesty. Uncleaned and with deposits as found, otherwise, good very fine.


From the Spina collection, ex Nomos 1, 6 May 2009, 63 and from the collection of C. Gillet, ‘Kunstfreund’, Bank Leu/Münzen und Medaillen, 28 May 1974, 198.

Dionysos and Herakles were the patron gods of Thebes and this extremely rare coin bears them both. Thebes was the only city in Boeotia to issue coins in electrum: hemidrachms and trihemiobols, both of the same type (the smaller piece is so rare that only a single example has ever appeared at public sale). They must have been produced as emergency money for military needs: in the 390s Boeotia was involved with a number of serious problems, with the Spartans and Thessalians among others.