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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 46. Estimate CHF5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF6000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

, Northwest Germany. Circa 1580 or, perhaps, slightly later. One-sided roundel (Bronze, 154mm, 310 g), based on a design by Jost Amman (1539-1591). Scene of Dido’s foundation of Carthage. According to legend when the Phoenician princess Elissa (her epithet was Dido = the Wanderer) arrived in the area of Tunisia she asked if her people could have land for a settlement, just as much as could be encompassed by an oxhide. This she was granted but she was able to have the hide so finely cut up that she was able to use it to surround an entire hill, from then on known as the Byrsa, or hide. On this medal we see her on horseback in the foreground, surrounded by attendants and the local inhabitants. Before her two soldiers are carefully cutting the hide on a table, from which it falls as a continuous rope into a coil on the ground before; this long string is being uncoiled to form the city boundary by two men on the right; other attendants, including horsemen are in the background, some leading pack animals and some, riding camels. In the far background, view of a city, with towers and bridges: either a view of Utica or a vision of the Carthage to come. Around the edge, wreath of leaves and fruits. Rev. Plain, but with incuse areas behind areas of higher relief on the obverse. A ring mount, perhaps of slightly later date than the roundel, is soldered onto the reverse at 12 o’clock. Weber 561 (but illustrating an example without the wreath border). Rare. A superb, original cast, beautifully detailed with figures in high relief. Splendid and uniform dark brown patina. Extremely fine.

Ex Astarte XVIII, 9 May 2005, 396.

This superb roundel, by an unknown artist in Northwest Germany basing himself on an engraving by Jost Amman, is exceptionally well-made. Examples of this type are known with a plain edge or, as here, with an elaborate vegetal wreath around the type. That this was a slightly later addition can be seen by traces of the molding process that remain on the reverse. Nevertheless, this addition can not have taken place much later than the production of the borderless pieces. It should be noted that the wreath is held together by six links that have incuse circles on them: these were almost certainly designed for use as attachment points if this roundel were to be nailed to another surface. The design was also used for a medal ascribed to Hans Petzolt (as Weber 300).