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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 2737.
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $630. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ROMAN. 1st or 2nd century AD, round silver phalera plaquette, diameter 21mm (3.11 gm). Swan flying right, upon which sits Leda (?), nude and seen from the back, the whole surrounded by a textured frame and set on a gilded field. Intact, with remains of the original gilding. ($1000)

The myth of Leda and the swan was a popular motif in ancient art. Zeus in the form of a swan copulated with Leda, who subsequently produced an egg from which were born Helen and Pollux (one of the Dioscuri). Castor was born on the same night but was fathered by Leda's husband Tyndareos, the king of Sparta. Pollux, the immortal son of Zeus, shared his immortality with his mortal twin Castor, so that they each lived half the time on earth and the other half on Olympus, or, according to an alternate version, that they lived on alternate days.