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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Ex BCD, Käpellli and Jameson Collections

Triton XXI, Lot: 429. Estimate $20000.
Sold for $32500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ELIS, Olympia. 107th Olympiad. 352 BC. AR Stater (24mm, 11.72 g, 6h). ‘Zeus’ mint. Head of Zeus left, wearing laurel wreath; to right, vertical thunderbolt with wings above and volutes below / Eagle, with closed wings, standing right on Ionic capital; F-A flanking. Seltman, Temple –; BCD Olympia 133 = Käpelli F84 (this coin); HGC 5, 374 (this coin illustrated); otherwise unpublished. Near EF, attractive old collection tone. Unique.

Ex Roma XIII (23 March 2017), lot 118; Hess-Divo 311 (22 October 2008), lot 379; BCD Collection (Leu 90, 10 May 2004), lot 133; R. Käpelli Collection, no. F84; R. Jameson Collection (not in published catalogue); Ars Classica XVI (3 July 1933), lot 1292.

From the BCD catalog: “The engraver who cut the obverse die for this coin may well have been the same who did those for the Arkadian League, since some of those dies are nearly identical to this one (see, especially, BMC 48; but also Boston MFA 1260 and Käppeli 85). The thunderbolt behind Zeus’ head is probably not a magistrate’s symbol as some have supposed, but simply a reference to Zeus himself. The difference in conception between this head and [those on other issues] is quite massive. This is the most elegant, late Classical head of Zeus to appear on the coins of Olympia, and is reminiscent of, but far finer, than any of the best issues of Philip II. Coins like this make it abundantly clear that the Eleans saw the coins of Olympia as prestige issues, and that they were fully willing to pay for the best engravers in the Greek world to produce them.”