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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 7, Lot: 114. Estimate CHF250000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2013. 
Sold For CHF210000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ARKADIA, Pheneos. Circa 360-350 BC. Stater (Silver, 12.13 g 10). Head of Demeter to right, wearing grain wreath, elaborate disc and crescent earring with pendants, and pearl necklace. Rev. 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. BCD Peloponnesos 1617 (this coin). BMFA 1265 (same dies). Shultz 3.4, dies V2/R2 (this coin). Very rare. A lovely, toned and sharply struck coin of great freshness, beauty, and style. Extremely fine.

From the Spina Collection and from the BCD Collection, LHS 96, 8 May 2006, 1617, and from a Peloponnesian Hoard found before 1937 (IGCH 60).

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.