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Coin Detail
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ID:     90010112
Type:     Greek
Issuer:     Teththiveibi
Date Ruled:     440-430 BC
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Stater
Struck / Cast:     struck
Weight:     9.84 g
Obverse Description:     Head of a goddess, perhaps Aphrodite, to left, wearing pearl necklace and spiral earring, her hair tied with bands and bound up at the back
Reverse Description:     Lycian inscription Tetraskeles surrounded by inscription; all within incuse square bordered by dots
Primary Reference:     Barron 118a (this coin)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     De Hirsch 1531
Notes:     Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 112 KF 222 (this coin) From the Spina collection, ex Leu 91, 10 May 2004, 163 and from the collections of D. FÉret, Vinchon, 24 November 1994, 252, C. Gillet, Kunstfreund, Bank Leu/MÜnzen und Medaillen, 28 May 1974, 222, and H. Otto, Hess 207, 1 December 1931, 578, and ex Naville X, 15 June 1925, 698.The types on the coins of Samos relate to the cult of Hera, whose great temple on the island was one of the most famous in the ancient world. The lion’s mask is that of a skin that served to adorn the cult statue of Hera; on the reverse is one of the two perfectly white oxen that drew the sacred cart carrying the goddess’s statue during her festival. While the light gold staters of Kroisos are relatively easy to come by, the fractions are much rarer, especially the sixths. This piece is in every way extraordinary - both well struck and very well preserved. The confronted lion and bull on this coin are age old eastern symbols of power, with the lion being the emblem of the Lydian royal family. The facing heads of Helios on the silver tetradrachms of Rhodes go through quite a stylistic progression over the slightly more than two centuries of their existence. The earlier heads of the late 5th and 4th centuries are fully in the Classical tradition and range from the noble, serene and, often, eerily powerful to insipid and banal. However, the tradition changes when tetradrachms resume in the later 3rd century. On those coins the Helios heads are truly Hellenistic in a very florid and baroque way, with some of the earliest, like this one, being most impressive. Ex Leu 81, 16 May 2001, 310, Bank Leu 7, 9 May 1973, 251 and from the collection of J. Desneux.The coinage of Lycia is characterized by the large number of eclectic designs found on it. The area’s general symbol, the tri- or tetraskeles, appeared on many reverses, but there were an infinite number of obverse types used. A good number were copied from or based on types used in other Greek cities - this one finds parallels in earlier issues from Syracuse! It is one of the prettiest female heads to be found in all of Lycian coinage, and certainly one of the best preserved.