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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Exceptional Pi Style Obol

CNG 102, Lot: 291. Estimate $300.
Sold for $425. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ATTICA, Athens. Circa 353-294 BC. AR Obol (7.5mm, 0.65 g, 10h). Helmeted head of Athena right, with profile eye and pi-style palmette / Owl standing right, head facing; [olive sprig behind]; all within incuse square. Kroll –; HGC 4, 1666; J. Kroll, “The Reminting of Athenian Silver Coinage, 353 B.C.” in Hesperia 80, fig. 11, g. Good VF, toned, a few tiny deposits. Exceptional for issue.

From the estate of Thomas Bentley Cederlind. Ex Hebrew College Museum Collection (Gemini VII, 9 January 2011), lot 850.

Although this coin was sold as a Samarian imitation in Gemini, the style of the piece is perfect for an official pi-style issue. Even the position of the ethnic, with the lower left bar of the A hidden by the neck of the owl, which Kroll notes is canonical for the series, is correct. The exceptional nature of the present coin is underscored by Kroll’s assessment of the obols in his article (above): “In the publications and several collections that I have consulted, I have found none with a clearly classifiable Pi I-V helmet ornament. [T]his results largely from the coins’ small size and imperfect die-cutting and preservation....” In contrast to these remarks, this coin has a very good style, is well preserved, and exhibits an extremely clear Pi IV ornament.