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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Cabinet W
ARGOLIS, Argos. Circa 370-350 BC

Triton XV, Lot: 1011. Estimate $75000.
Sold for $75000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ARGOLIS, Argos. Circa 370-350 BC. AR Stater (25mm, 11.99 g, 5h). Head of Hera to right, her hair flowing down the back of her neck, wearing stephane ornamented with palmettes, earring and necklace of pearls, ΑRΛΕΙOΝ, Two dolphins swimming in a circle to left; between them, Corinthian helmet right between Ε-Μ. BCD Peloponnesos 1066 (this coin); A. Löbbecke, “Griechische Münzen aus meiner Sammlung IV,” ZfN 17 (1890), p. 6 and pl. I, 8 = Traité III 617 (same dies). Extremely rare, the second example known. Some striking flatness but beautifully toned and struck on a broad flan, extremely fine.

Ex Nomos 2 (18 May 2010), lot 92; BCD Collection (Leu 96, 8 May 2007), lot 1066; Leu 7 (9 May 1973), lot 184; Münzen und Medaillen AG X (22 June 1951), lot 282.

Argos only produced a very small number of staters, all of which were minted within a rather limited period of time, probably circa 370-350 when both Spartan and Theban domination of the Peloponnesos had fallen away. The Argive issues seem to fall into three groups: a small series at the beginning with head left (as BCD 1058), a main series with compact heads of Hera (as BCD 1061-1065), and a later outlying group (as the present piece), which has a large, elegant, and ‘pretty’ head of the goddess that differs in concept from those on the two preceding groups. It also differs in its the ethnic, with a lambda-like gamma and an omacron rather than an omega. Reminiscences of this head can be found on later staters from Crete, thus making it likely that some coins of this type found their way to that island in the purses of returning mercenaries.