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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 10. Estimate $3000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $2800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CALABRIA, Tarentum. Time of Alexander the Molossian. Circa 334-330 BC. AV Half-Stater (4.24 gm). Struck circa 334-332 BC. TARANTINWN, head of Hera right, wearing stephane; [E] behind head / TARAS, nude Taras astride dolphin left, holding dolphin in extended right hand, trident in left. Vlasto 5 (same dies); SNG ANS 955 (same reverse die); SNG Lloyd -; SNG Copenhagen 831 var. (T below dolphin); Jameson 149 var. (|- K on reverse); Gulbenkian -; Pozzi -; Weber -; HN Italy 902. VF. ($3000)

From the James A. Ferrendelli Collection. Ex Harlan J. Berk 20th Chicago International Coin Fair Auction (23 March 1995), lot 12.

According to tradition the Spartan colony of Taras was founded in 706 BC. The city is, perhaps, better known by its Roman name of Tarentum and today it is called Taranto. It adopted a democratic form of government circa 475 BC and from the middle of the 5th century became the leading Greek city in southern Italy. The occasion for the issue of this gold half-stater was the intervention in Tarentine affairs of Alexander the Molossian, king of Epeiros, who arrived in the region in 334 BC ostensibly to assist the beleaguered state which was being threatened by the warlike Lucanians of the interior. His true purpose, however, was to extend his dominion in the west just as his namesake, the king of Macedon, was establishing a great empire in the east. After initial successes his career was abruptly terminated in 330 BC beneath the walls of Pandosia where he perished in battle against the Bruttians, much to the relief of the Tarentine Republic.