Leu Numismatik

Auction 15  –  1 June 2024

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Leu Numismatik, Auction 15

Celtic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine Coins and Aurum Barbarorum

Sa, 01.06.2024, from 1:00 PM CEST
Pre bids are accepted until:
Sa, 01.06.2024, until 6:00 AM CEST

Description

★ An extremely rare wreath stater from Poseidonia, ex Leu 48, 10 May 1989, 20 and Leu 15, 4-5 May 1976, 24 ★

LUCANIA. Poseidonia. Circa 530-500 BC. Stater (Silver, 29 mm, 7.53 g, 12 h). ΠOM Poseidon, nude but for chlamys draped over both his arms, striding right, brandishing trident held in his right hand and holding wreath in his extended left; all within border of dots. Rev. Poseidon, as on the obverse, but to left and incuse, except for the trident and the wreath, which are in relief; to right, MOΠ (in relief); all within rayed border. BMC 11. Gorini -. HN Italy 1107. SNG ANS -. SNG Ashmolean -. SNG Lockett 439 var. (no wreath on reverse). Extremely rare with Poseidon holding a wreath. A magnificent piece of enchanting late archaic style, with a fine pedigree and a wonderful old cabinet tone. Light marks and with a minor flan fault on the obverse, otherwise, extremely fine.

Ex Leu 48, 10 May 1989, 20 and Leu 15, 4-5 May 1976, 24.

Audet facundo qui carmina mittere Nervae,
pallida donabit glaucina, Cosme, tibi,
Paestano violas et cana ligustra colono,
Hyblaeis apibus Corsica mella dabit.

'He who ventures to send verses to the eloquent Nerva,
will present common perfumes to Cosmus,
violets and privet to the inhabitant of Paestum,
and Corsican honey to the bees of Hybla.'
(Martial 9.26.3)

Poseidonia was founded in the late 7th century BC by Sybaris on the southern shore of the Golfo di Salerno, on an alluvial plain bounded by the Silarus (Sele) river in the North, the Cilento mountains in the East and South, and the Sea in the West. The region was famous for its abundance of flowers, as evidenced by Martial's epigram quoted above, but it also held significant strategic importance, guarding the slopes of the wild and untamed Cilento mountain range (derived from Latin Cis Alentum = 'on this side of the Alentum [river]'), where Lucanian tribes dwelled. In circa 410/0 BC, Poseidonia apparently fell to these tribal warriors and was renamed to Paistos, before being turned into the Latin colony Paestum by the Romans in 273 BC. The silting of the harbor and repeated floods contributed to the decline of the city in the Roman imperial period, and the plain was eventually abandoned in the early middle ages.

Today, Poseidonia, known by its Latin name Paestum, is renowned for its exceptionally well-preserved Doric temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its magnificent coins. One such coin is this extremely rare late archaic stater, showcasing a distinctive detail: Poseidon holding a wreath in his left hand. The significance of this uncommon portrayal of the sea god remains unknown, yet it could symbolize a victory wreath, suggesting an agonistic victory by a Poseidonian. Such victories were esteemed honors for both the athletes and their hometown, perhaps prompting Poseidonia to commemorate one of its citizens' triumphs with this special emission.

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Starting price 16'000 CHF
Estimate 20'000 CHF
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