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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90030096
Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 96. Estimate CHF10000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF12000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ELIS, Olympia. 94th Olympiad. 404 BC. Stater (Silver, 12.36 g 6), Unsigned but by Da.... Eagle’s head to left with large white poplar leaf below. Rev. Ϝ Α Vertical thunderbold with wings above and volutes below; all within olive wreath. BCD Olympia 78 (this coin). De Hirsch 1345. Seltman, Temple 157 (dies ΒΤ³/γω) . Very rare. Attractively toned and very well struck. About extremely fine.


From a S. American collection, ex CNG MBS 70, 21 September 2005, 195 and from the BCD Collection, Leu 90, 10 May 2004, 78.

The eagle head on the issues of Olympia is one of the most powerful avian representations to appear on Greek coinage and is in every way exceptional. The eagle was the familiar of Zeus and served as his messenger. If Seltman is right, beginning at the end of the 5th century Zeus disappears from the coinage of Olympia: his obverse representation was first replaced by his eagle and then, after a decade or so, either by his eagle or by a head of Hera. The reverses initially remained the standard thunderbolt for both types, but then, in c. 380, the eagle reappears on the reverse of the coins bearing the Hera obverse. The eagle continues as virtually the sole reverse type from then on; especially after Zeus reappears on the obverse c. 360. Interestingly enough, beginning in the 240s the eagle/thunderbolt types of the 5th century were revived for Olympia’s last great drachm issues.