Morton & Eden

Auction 124  –  26 - 27 September 2023

Morton & Eden, Auction 124

Important Greek Coins - The Collection of a European Connoisseur

Part 1: Tu, 26.09.2023, from 11:00 AM CEST
Part 2: We, 27.09.2023, from 11:00 AM CEST
The auction is closed.


‡ Sicily, Naxos, tetradrachm, c. 460 BC, attributed to the Aitna Master, bearded head of Dionysos right, crowned with ivy, his hair tied in krobylos at back of neck, rev., Ν-ΑΧΙ-ΟΝ, Silenos, nude and ithyphallic, squatting on the ground, raising kantharos to his lips while supporting himself with his left arm, 16.88g, die axis 9.00 (Cahn 54; SNG ANS 515; Rizzo pl. 28, 12; Franke-Hirmer pl. 2 = Kraay-Hirmer pl. 2, 6 = Jenkins 366-367; Kunstfreund 95 = Hunt I, 68; SNG Spencer-Churchill 46; SNG Lockett 840; SNG Manchester 428; SNG Lloyd 1150 = K. Schefold, Meisterwerke griechischer Kunst, Basel, 1960, 441 = M&E 55, 1, all from the same dies), toned and extremely fine, perfectly centred, an exceptional example, one of the finest known Provenance: Jean-Jacques Barre, Paris (1793-1855); Münzen und Medaillen 79, 28 February March 1994, lot 142; European Connoisseur collection (formed before 2002). Note: ‘One of the masterpieces of Greek art’ – Sir E.S.G. Robinson. Universally celebrated for both its composition and execution, the Naxos tetradrachm attributed to the Aitna master is perhaps unique in that critics have historically judged it not merely by comparison to other coins, but as a work of art on its own, regardless of medium. The head of Dionysos, ‘a god of nature manifest’ is engraved with a sophisticated, sculptural monumentality, while the squatting, drunken Silenos, is a study in bravura composition, anatomical knowledge, perspective and execution. As noted in the Münzen & Medaillen catalogue, this coin was once owned by Jean-Jacques Barre (born 1793), the chief engraver at the Paris Mint from 1842 until his death in 1855. Highly regarded (the recipient of the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1843) and prolific, his output included dies for innumerable coins, medals, banknotes, and two of the first French postage stamps. In 1839, at the behest of the United States government, Barre cut the copy dies for the replacement gold Comitia Americana medal awarded in 1781 to Daniel Morgan for the Battle of Cowpens (sold Stack’s Bowers 2022).

Estimate: GBP 400000-600000

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Price realized 550'000 GBP
Starting price 300'000 GBP
Estimate 400'000 GBP
The auction is closed.
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