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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 35. Estimate CHF50000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF100000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLANDS off THRACE, Samothrace. Circa 500-465 BC. Didrachm (Silver, 8.91 g). ΣΑ (retrograde and backwards) Sphinx crouching left, wearing a ‘cap’ with a plume; she raises her right forepaw and, with her left, scratches her side. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. Jameson 2441 (this coin). Schwabacher, Fund 1a (this coin). Traité I, 989 = pl. XXVIII, 12, and IV, 1200, pl. CCCXXV, 17 = Svoronos pl. 17, 15. Extremely rare, the third known example, the others being in Paris and Vienna. Beautifully toned, a lovely coin. Extremely fine.

From the “Outstanding Collection”, Leu 81, 16 May 2001, 137, ex Bank Leu 42, 12 May 1987, 154, and from the collections of C. Gillet, “Kunstfreund”, Bank Leu/Münzen und Medaillen, 28 May 1974, 45, and R. Jameson; and from the Kiourpet (Chora on Samothrace) Hoard of 1930 (IGCH 696).

The Sphinx was probably the badge of Samothrace, a symbol of the Island’s famous sanctuary of the Great Mother. The city only issued a very limited coinage in archaic times, far less than the immense issues of the neighboring island of Thasos. This coin is particularly elegant and is one of the great Greek numismatic rarities.