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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 30. Estimate CHF20000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF22000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THRACE, Abdera. Circa 480-473/0 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 14.60 g), magistrate Dam.... . Griffin seated left, with open wings and both forelegs raised; above, ΔΑ - Μ. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. AMNG II, 18. May, Abdera 71. Very rare. An exceptional piece, beautifully toned and perfectly struck. Some very minor roughness as found, otherwise, good extremely fine.

From the Spina collection, Nomos I, 6 May 2009, 32 and ex Triton VII, 12 January 2004, 157.

This splendid coin bears a wonderfully powerful griffin: he seems to be rising up on his back legs, raising his clawed forepaws to ward off an enemy. The griffin was the badge of Abdera; these animals were a favorite creature in the mythology of the Greeks and their neighbors to the east - as is well known they were said to be the guardians of the sources of gold in central Asia (for a convincing explanation of the origin of the myth of the griffin, see A. Mayor’s The First Fossil Hunters, Princeton, 2000). The use of the griffin on the coinage of Abdera was due to the arrival there of most of the population of Ionian Teos in 544 - when they fled from Persian domination they brought their griffin symbol with them.