Mysia, Cyzicus. Stater, circa 500-475, EL 16.08 g. Heracles kneeling r., holding club over his head and bow; behind, tunny fish upright. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. von Fritze 106. Boston 1462. Kunstfreund 6 (this coin).
Estimate: 50'000 CHF
Starting price: 40'000 CHF
Online bidding closed
Very rare and undoubtedly the finest specimen known of this issue and among the best
staters of Cyzicus in existence. Of masterly Archaic style, perfectly struck in high
relief, light reddish tone and good extremely fine
Ex Schlessinger 13, 1935, duplicates of Hermitage, 1160; Leu-M&M 28 May 1974, Kunstfreund, 6 and Morton & Eden 24 October 2011, 131 sales.
Heracles was revered at Cyzicus for having taken part in the Argonautic expedition to Colchis – an event that constitutes one of the main design themes for the staters of Cyzicus. During their mythical journey the Argonauts docked at Cyzicus and were treated hospitably, though after leaving their vessel was blown back toward the city, only to be mistaken for an enemy. Hostilities soon broke out and Cyzicus, the leader of the Aeolians who then occupied the city, was killed in combat by Jason or Heracles. With this connection to Heracles locked firmly into the earliest period of Cyzicene 'history' it is hardly surprising to find the demi-god so frequently represented on the city's coinage.
On Cyzicene electrum Heracles is shown in various manners, including as an infant, where he holds a tunny, wrestles two serpents, or performs that same feat with his brother Iphicles. As a mature hero he is honoured with a portrait stater, is shown wrestling the Nemean lion, or holding a club and a horn. In this case he holds a club, bow and two arrows. A variant of this type exists, on which the hero is depicted as a young man, un-bearded, his club is lowered and the arrows are absent. In both instances he is presented in the trademark crouching-bending position of Cyzicus as he advances with bent legs so as to allow this vigorous design to better fit the shape of the round planchet.