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Research Coins: Feature Auction


The Founding of Thebes

CNG 100, Lot: 1755. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $2750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PHOENICIA, Tyre. Valerian I. AD 253-260. Æ (27mm, 13.49 g, 7h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Cadmus standing left, holding patera and spear; at feet to left, cow reclining right; in left field, city gate of Thebes above ΘH/BЄ; murex shell to right. Rouvier 2500; BMC –. VF, dark green patina. Very rare and exceptional for issue.

While travelling through Greece in search of his abducted sister Europa, the Phoenician prince Cadmus consulted the Delphic oracle, where he was instructed to follow a sacred cow and found a city on the spot where it should finally take rest. Cadmus followed the instructions, and the spot where the cow stopped became the great city of Thebes in Boeotia.