Artistic Head of Pan
CIMMERIAN BOSPOROS, Pantikapaion.
|Triton XVI, Lot: 408. Estimate $100000.
Sold for $85000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
Circa 325-310 BC. AV Stater (21mm, 9.09 g, 12h). Head of Pan left, wearing ivy wreath / Griffin, holding spear in its mouth, standing left, head facing, forepaw raised, on grain ear; Π-A-N around. MacDonald 63; Anokhin 1027; HGC 7, 21; SNG BM Black Sea 867. EF, underlying luster, insignificant hairline edge crack.
Pantikapaion was founded by Greek colonists from Miletos in the late seventh century BC. Situated on the west side of the Cimmerian Bosporos, in what is now the Crimea, it achieved great prosperity through its exploitation of the abundant fisheries of the Straits and the export of wheat from the Crimea. This wealth is attested by its splendid gold coinage which commenced in the mid-4th century BC and by the magnificently furnished rock tombs of its principal citizens in the same period. Later, it was to become a regional capital of the kingdom of Mithradates VI of Pontos (120-63 BC) and later still the seat of the kings of Bosporos (first century BC - fourth century AD). The coinage of Pantikapaion seems to have commenced with silver issues in the latter part of the fifth century BC, but it is for its beautiful gold staters that the mint is chiefly noted. They depict the head of the god Pan (a pun on the name of the city) and on the reverse the griffin that Herodotos describes as being the guardian of the remote sources of gold.