THESSALY. Oitaioi. Circa 360s-340s BC. Hemidrachm (Silver, 17 mm, 2.83 g, 12 h), Herakleia Trachinia. Head of a lion to left, holding spear in its jaws. Rev. OITAΩN Herakles standing front, holding long club in both hands. BCD Thessaly I 1211 ( same dies ). BCD Thessaly II 487 ( same reverse die ). BMC 1 ( same dies ). Jameson 1099 ( this coin ). SNG Copenhagen 176. A magnificent, beautifully toned piece, very well pedigreed and with a splendid head of the Nemean lion. The reverse slightly double struck, otherwise, extremely fine.
From the Kleinkunst Collection and from the collections of W. Niggeler, Bank Leu/Münzen & Medaillen, 3-5 December 1965, 260 and R. Jameson (1861-1942), ex Egger, 10 December 1906, 271 ('Prachtexemplar feinsten Stils. F.d.c.').
We first hear of the Oitaioi, a wild tribe living in the Oite mountain range southwest of Lamia, from Herodot, who tells us that the Persian flanking maneuver during the Battle of Thermopylai in 480 BC touched their territory (Hdt. 7.217). In the early 4th century BC, the Oitaioi incorporated the city of Herakleia Trachinia, which lay a few kilometers west of the Thermopylai and became their capital. The coinage of the Oitaioi refers heavily to the eponymous hero of their main city, Herakles, who self-immolated on Mount Oite and is depicted on the reverse of this beautiful hemidrachm holding a very long club in both hands. The obverse, on the other hand, shows a magnificent rendering of the Nemean lion: its head is not shown fully in profile, but rather turned three-quarters to the left and holding a transverse spear in its jaws, which lends the image an unrivaled depth and beauty.
|Price realized||16'000 CHF|
|Starting price||4'000 CHF|