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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 91. Estimate CHF15000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF12500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 480-450 BC. Hekte (Electrum, 2.56 g). Forepart of rooster-headed winged monster to left; above, seal swimming to left. Rev. Irregular incuse square. Bodenstedt 40. Extremely rare, a splendid and beautifully struck piece, probably the finest known example. Good extremely fine.

Ex Gemini VI, 10 January 2010, 178.

All previous commentators on this rare type, including ourselves, have always assumed that the obverse type was simply a rooster. Careful examination shows this is not the case. The animal’s chest is ornamented with dots, just in the manner that sphinxes, griffins, pegasi and winged boars are, but not chickens. The wing, with its pronounced curl, is completely unlike those found on actual roosters on coins: such as those on both the electrum staters and the unique silver trihemiobol, (lot 88, above), from Dardanos, or on silver from Karystos and Himera. It is, however, exactly the same as found on contemporary griffins, pegasi and the like. The fact is that there are bird-headed griffins and this fits right in with them.