Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 96   |   6 October 2016 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 1094

Estimate: 25'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 20'000 CHF Price realized: 20'000 CHF
Greek Coins
Uncertain Dynast of Caria. Stater, "Mint B" circa 450 BC, AR 11.74 g.
Description Naked male deity, with wings at shoulders and heels, running r.; above l. shoulder, mono­gram (possibly o-y) or linear device. Rev. B – M – (koppa) retrograde Lion crouching l., with r. foreleg raised, looking backwards; above, monogram (possibly o-y) or linear device. All within dotted frame in incuse square. References
Traité pl. XXIV, 18
Robinson. NC 1936, p. 269, 12 and pl. 14, 12 (these dies)
SNG von Aulock 2351 (these dies)
SNG Lockett 2917 (this obverse die)
ACNAC Rosen 624 (this obverse die)
Wealth of the Ancient World 67 (this coin)
Konuk M35 (these dies) Condition
Very rare. A very attractive issue of superb late Archaic style, light old cabinet tone and extremely fine Provenance
NFA sale X, 1981, 186
Sotheby's sale 19 June 1990, Nelson Bunker Hunt collection part I, 67
NAC sale 66, 2012, 57
Our understanding of the Archaic and early Classical coins of Caria has increased dramatically in recent decades due to an improved decipherment of the Carian language. Pioneering work was conducted by Egyptologist John Ray in the 1980s when he laid the groundwork through the study of Carian-Egyptian bilingual tomb inscriptions. He demonstrated, among other things, that ancient Carian is a member of the Indo-European language group. Other linguists have continued Ray's work, including Ignacio-Javier Adiego Lajara, The Carian Language, and (especially with coin inscriptions) Koray Konuk. This rare stater of an uncertain mint in Caria was struck to the Aeginetic weight standard. Five issues of staters are assigned to this mint, currently labeled by Konuk as "Mint B," all of which are linked by a symbol that looks much like a stylized caduceus. On this coin it appears on the obverse above the figure's raised left arm, and on the reverse above the center of the lion's back. Konuk considers it to be a linear device or an object rather than a monogram composed of letters from the Carian script. Four of the "Mint B" staters are close variants of the present type. The fifth is a separate type with designs derived from the Classical-period drachms of Cnidus. It shows on its obverse the forepart of a roaring lion and on their reverse the head of a wreathed male within a strongly defined incuse square (on the Cnidus originals the head is of Aphrodite). This type shows a naked male in kneeling-running position with his arms and legs in motion, creating a most pleasing and balanced composition accentuated by wings at his shoulders and heels. The identity of the figure is not known, but he presumably is a deity or a hero. The reverse shows a lion standing left with his back sharply bowed; his head is reverted, his tail curled forward and his right forepaw raised. In addition to the 'linear device' that appears on each side, the reverse bears a three-letter inscription that Konuk transliterates as sγp, (perhaps pγs?) which may abbreviate the name of a dynast. A related series that is considerably larger and more familiar – the "winged Carians" – is now attributed by Konuk to Kaunos, a native port in Caria. His conclusion was drawn from the study of a trilingual inscription – Greek, Lycian and Aramaic – found in an excavation of the Letoon near Xanthos. The winged female figure on those coins is described by Konuk as Iris, and the triangular object on the reverse a baetyl, a conical stone worshipped as an abode of the gods.

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