Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 110   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 1

Estimate: 12'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 9'600 CHF Price realized: 14'000 CHF
Bruttium, Rhegium. Tetradrachm circa 435-425, AR 17.46 g. Lion's mask facing. Rev. RECINOS Apollo Iocastus seated l., himation over lower limbs; r. hand holding long staff and l. hand resting on hip. Below chair, dog; all within olive wreath. de Luynes 788 (these dies). Herzfelder 41. Historia Numorum Italy 2488.
Rare. Of lovely style and with an attractive dark tone.
Extremely fine / about extremely fine
Ex NAC 10, 1997, 81; NAC 25, 2003, 45 and NAC 52, 2009, 52 sales. From the A.D.M. collection.
The earliest coinage of Rhegium, a colony at the end of the ‘toe’ of Italy, was modelled after the coinage of Sicily, as this city’s contacts were much stronger with the island across the strait than with its Italian neighbours. This magnificent tetradrachm is a perfect example: its denomination and weight standard were ideal for trade in Sicily, and even its thick fabric and its designs on both sides in relief would have made it more acceptable in its intended market. Enough praise cannot be showered upon this particular coin, which is a pristine example from the first pair of dies used to strike coins at Rhegium. Though the charm of the series endured, none of the Archaic period dies quite match the quality of this first set, which was the prototype for all that followed. The lion’s scalp is a tour de force because of its sublime simplicity; the reverse is both forceful and elegant, and possesses all of the best qualities of late Archaic Greek art. In the late 19th Century Percy Gardner expressed interest in the “...remarkable series of seated male figures, which are artistically of the greatest interest.” This included the symbolical bearded figure from the Rhegium tetradrachms, sitting in the attitude of Zeus, and a similar figure on the early coins of Tarentum. He described each of these figures as a Demos of the city, but current studies tend to adopt the view that J. P. Six expressed in the Numismatic Chronicle of 1898, that the figure is Iocastus, the traditional founder of Rhegium. Not only would he be an appropriate subject, but on some examples (Hertzfelder 59-60) a serpent is shown beneath the chair, and the legend holds that Iocastus died from a snake bite.

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