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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 112. Estimate CHF120000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF130000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MYSIA, Pergamon. 334-332 BC. Stater (Gold, 8.61 g 12). Head of youthful Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress. Rev. Palladium (an archaic statue of Athena), wearing kalathos, standing facing in an archaistic manner, holding a shield ornamented with a star over her left arm and thrusting with a spear held in her upraised right hand; in field to left, Corinthian helmet with crest; hanging from the shield, fillet ending in tassels. Gulbenkian 699 = Jameson 2580. SNG France 1557. Extremely rare, one of a very few examples known. An exceptional piece of great beauty. Virtually as struck.

From the SF Collection, USA.

Dated to 334-332 in the most recent sources, this may, in fact, be too early and we may have to visualize this as having been struck slightly later, after the ever increasing numbers of Alexander’s standard silver issues, with their comparable heads of Herakles, had begun to flood the markets of the ancient world. In every way this coin, accompanied by a small number of other pieces with differing symbols, must have been special: it bears no name of the authority that issued it, and only the characteristic Pergamene figure of Athena points to that city as its origin. The presence of examples of this type in the famous Saïda hoard, dating to the late 320s, makes it clear that it had to have been struck at some point during the reign of Alexander himself. If so, we might view it as a special issue designed to pay the troops who guarded Pergamon, location of one of the greatest stores of wealth in all of Alexander’s empire. In any event, the distinguished Belgian scholar F. de Callataÿ is undertaking a corpus of this coinage (together with a colleague) and we can expect a complete analysis fairly soon. We already know that the total number of dies for this issue was extremely limited and that including the pieces now in museums, there are no more than 20+ examples of all types known.