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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 130. Estimate CHF17500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF25000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLANDS off THRACE, Thasos. Circa 412-404 BC. Stater (Silver, 8.57 g). Bald headed and nude Satyr moving right, holding a nymph who vaguely protests his actions; to right, Α. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. Le Rider, Thasiennes, 6. SNG Copenhagen Suppl. 103. A lightly toned and well struck example of beautiful Classical style. Some die rust and minor cut on the reverse, otherwise, good extremely fine.

Ex Triton XIII, 5 January 2010, 93.

Thasos was a major producer of silver from the mines it controlled on the mainland and struck an enormous number of silver coins as a way of exporting it. From the end of the 6th until the end of the 5th century her issues of staters bearing a satyr carrying off a nymph must have been struck in enormous numbers. They were apparently extremely popular to the north in the Balkans, where very large hoards of them have been found, as well as to the East and in Egypt (they have also turned up in Italy). The archaic and early classical staters are among the most abundant coins of those periods to survive, though really fine ones of good style are rare. However, the issues of the late 5th century, made in a fully developed classical style, reminiscent of the sculptures on the Parthenon and at Bassai, are not only far less common but are struck by dies engraved by a true master. The satyr is old and bearded, but is quite civilized looking, compared to his much rougher brothers on earlier coins. He very carefully holds a rather soignée nymph, wearing transparent drapery: her hair is of the latest fashion (see the nymphs on the hemidrachm coinage of Macedonian Neapolis for close parallels), and while her hands are spread in a pro forma protest, her legs are demurely crossed! Aside from a touch of die rust on the obverse, this is an exceptional example; very rare in such condition.