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Exceptionally Detailed Strike

525516. SOLD $15000

CALABRIA, Tarentum. Circa 302 BC. AR Nomos (21mm, 7.84 g, 12h). Nude youth, holding rein in left hand and crowning himself with wreath held aloft in right, on horseback right; below, ΣA above Ionic capital / Phalanthos, holding serpent in extended right hand, riding dolphin left; TAPAΣ to right, KON below. Fischer-Bossert Group 75, 947 (V368/R733); Vlasto 657; HN Italy 942. Lightly toned, underlying luster. Superb EF. Well struck from fresh dies of exemplary style.

The silver coins of Tarentum, perhaps the wealthiest of all Greek cities on the Italian mainland, were struck over a span of nearly three centuries, most of them bearing the familiar types of a horseman on the obverse and a male figure, either Taras or Phalanthos, riding a dolphin on the reverse. Though not rare in general, a few coins in the series display exceptional artistry and production standards, including the present example. Seldom does one encounter a Tarentum nomos so perfectly struck that the individual toes of the dolphin-rider are clearly delineated and details of the horse’s harness, bridle and carefully braided main stand out in sharp relief.