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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 102, Lot: 67. Estimate $200.
Sold for $280. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LUCANIA, Velia. Circa 535-510 BC. AR Obol (7mm, 0.53 g). Forepart of lion right, devouring prey / Quadripartite incuse square. Cf. Williams 1–31 (drachms); HN Italy 1261. VF, toned, some porosity. Rare.

From the AG Collection. Ex Harlan J. Berk BBS 181 (7 November 2012), lot 110 .

In his die study of the silver coinage of Velia, Williams was fairly certain of the attribution of the drachms of this type to that mint. However, he was skeptical regarding the attribution of diobols and obols, which he considered as “Auriol” types. Nonetheless, Rutter (in HN) considered that some fractions were from Velia. A comparison of the present piece (and the Ashmolean coins cited by Rutter) with those listed by Fürtwangler in his study of Auriol (Types Ua and Uc) shows a clear difference in style. The lion here is more severe (akin to the issues of Akanthos) than those of Auriol, but, perhaps more importantly, the incuse is quartered by thin lines, like those of Williams’ drachms, rather than being of a mill-sail-like design, like those of Auriol. Thus, the attribution of this obol to Velia rather than Massalia is more likely.