Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich

Spring Sale 2020

Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich, Spring Sale 2020

Greek, Roman and Byzantine Coins

Mo, 25.05.2020, from 01:30 PM CEST
The auction is closed.


Lucania, Poseidonia.
Nomos circa 520-500, AR 28 mm, 6.35 g. ΠOΣ Poseidon bearded, diademed and naked but for chlamys over shoulders, advancing r., hurling trident in upraised r. hand. Rev. The same type incuse. de Luynes 525. Gillet 206. Historia Numorum Italy 1107. Garraffo, Le riconiazione in Magna Grecia e Sicilia, –.
An exceptionally rare overstrike of a nomos of Poseidonia over a nomos of Kaulonia. Old
cabinet tone. Traces of overstriking clearly visible on obverse and an irregular flan,
otherwise about extremely fine

Ex Naville Numismatics sale 15, 2015, 9.
Poseidonia was founded in Lucania by Achaian Greek colonists from Sybaris, probably around 600 BC. The city appears to have flourished in the sixth century BC, when it and other Greek cities of Magna Graecia in southern Italy began to produce a remarkable archaic silver coinage featuring reverse types that were the incuse version of the raised type on the obverse. It has been suggested that this unusual and technically difficult form of coinage may have developed out of a regional tradition of repousse metalwork. The present piece is a nomos of Poseidonia, featuring, as one might expect, the figure of Poseidon advancing and brandishing his trident. The coin is distinguished as a great rarity by both its double struck reverse—an error that is very uncommon for the incuse coinages of Magna Graecia—and especially the fact that it is overstruck on a stater of Kaulonia, a neighboring Achaian city in Bruttium. Part of the Ð of the ethnic naming Poseidonia is visible on the obverse as are the first two letters of the host coin’s ethnic naming Caulonia. Since the hoard record shows that staters of Poseidonia and Kaulonia regularly circulated side by side it seems improbable that the overstriking took place for economic reasons (i.e., a stater of Poseidonia had greater value than a stater of Kaulonia in a particular context and therefore it was worthwhile to overstrike Kaulonian staters as Poseidonian ones). Thus, it may be more reasonable to see a political motivation behind the overstriking here. One could speculate that the Poseidonians might have overstruck coins of Kaulonia during the unrest that enveloped Magna Graecia in the last decade of the sixth century BC, after Pythagoras and his followers were expelled from Kroton. The political views of the Pythagoreans seem to have caused divisions in several cities and perhaps the authorities of Poseidonia wished to steer clear of political revolution at home. Kaulonia, on the other hand is said to have briefly hosted the fleeing Pythagoreans as they made their way to safety at Metapontion. In such a scenario, one could read the act of overstriking as a Poseidonian declaration against the Pythagorans and their allies. Of course, the evidence for the history of Poseidonia and Kaulonia is very scant in the sixth century BC, and other explanations of the overstrike may be possible.

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Price realized 7'000 CHF 5 bids
Starting price 2'400 CHF
Estimate 3'000 CHF
The auction is closed.
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