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Research Coins: Printed Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 309. Estimate $20000.
Sold for $22500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CALABRIA, Tarentum. temp. Alexander the Molossian. Circa 333-331/0 BC. AV Stater (18.5mm, 8.56 g, 2h). Head of Persephone right, wearing a stephanos ornamented with palmettes, a slight veil, and triple-pendant earring; to right, TAPA above dolphin downward; ΣI below neck truncation / Nude warrior, shield on left arm, holding two spears in left hand, preparing to cast a third held aloft in his right hand, on horse rearing right; thunderbolt to right, AΠOΛ below. Fischer-Bossert G1 (V1/R1); Vlasto, Or Type H; Vlasto 10 (same dies); HN Italy 905; SNG BN 1773 (same dies); McClean 595 (same dies). Good VF, lightly toned, light scratch in field and some weakness of strike at highest point of obverse, a couple of insignificant marks in field on reverse. Extremely rare, only five examples of this issue noted by Fisher-Bossert, two additional in CoinArchives.

From a European collection, purchased privately from NAC in the 1990’s.

By the mid-fourth century BC, a flood of Italic peoples – Samnites, Brettii, and Lucani – had been pressing the Greek city-states of Magna Graecia for decades. In desperation, the Tarentines turned to the king of Epeiros, Alexander the Molossian. Alexander, while eager to help his Greek brothers, remained aware of the opportunity to add to his holdings and emulate his Macedonian cousin, Alexander the Great. Though initially defeating the Samnites and Lucani in battle, the fortunes of the Epirote king met a dramatic reversal at the Battle of Pandosia, when Alexander was slain by a Lucanian javelin. The exquisite gold staters of the present type were struck to finance these campaigns.