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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Rare Gold Fraction of Pyrrhos

Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 29. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008. 
Sold For $2000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BRUTTIUM, Lokroi Epizephyrioi. Time of Pyrrhos of Epeiros. Circa 281-272 BC. AV 1/10 Stater (0.91 g, 7h). Attic standard. Struck circa 280 BC. OL, head of eagle left with serpent in its beak / Winged thunderbolt. HN Italy 2346; SNG ANS 498; SNG Lloyd -; SNG Ashmolean -; SNG Copenhagen 1857; Jameson 447; Pozzi 795. VF, usual area of flat strike, minor die break on reverse.

This issue has been attributed to the period of either Alexander the Molossian (Pozzi) or Pyrrhos of Epeiros (Kraay), as both used the thunderbolt as a representative symbol on their coinage. Kraay's argument is more persuasive: the average weight of of this issue fits more precisely in the denominational system of gold coinage in Magna Graecia during the third century, and a parallel issue struck at Tarentum has been definitively placed during the time of Pyrrhos (cf. HN Italy 992).