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Cabinet W
ARKADIA, Pheneos. Circa 360-350 BC.

Triton XV, Lot: 1013. Estimate $300000.
Sold for $300000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ARKADIA, Pheneos. Circa 360-350 BC. AR Stater (25mm, 11.95 g, 2h). Head of Demeter to right, wearing grain wreath, elaborate disc and crescent earring with pendants, and pearl necklace / ΦΕΝΕΩΝ, Hermes, nude but for his petasos and for a cloak over his shoulders, partially facing and moving to the left, holding a kerykeion in his right hand; his head is turned back to right to gaze at the infant Arkas, whom he holds on his left arm with his left hand and who raises his right hand towards Hermes’ face; between Hermes’ legs, Θ. BCD Peloponnesos 1615 (same dies); Boston MFA 1266 (same dies); Du Chastel 243 (same dies); Shultz 2 (V2/R1 – this example unrecorded). Very rare. A magnificent, sharply struck coin of great freshness and beauty, one of the finest known examples. Very minor deposits on the reverse, otherwise, good extremely fine.

Purchased privately from the BCD Collection in 2005.

The stater coinage of Pheneos was very small: it was struck from only three obverse and seven reverse dies. This means the actual output was probably fairly limited, especially since the first obverse die almost immediately broke and was destroyed. These coins were surely designed to pay mercenaries: the years around 360 were dangerous ones in Greece and there was a considerable amount of fighting going on. The fact that such beautiful coins were made for such a reason may seem surprising, after all soldiers could be paid just in bullion, but it once again shows that civic pride was a major factor in the way coins were conceived and designed. Here the head of Demeter is remarkably elegant, especially given how beautifully struck and sharp it is; as for Hermes and the infant Arkas on the reverse, one immediately thinks of the Hermes of Praxiteles, which was made in c. 343 in nearby Olympia.