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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Amphiktionic Stater

Sale: CNG 81, Lot: 459. Estimate $30000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 20 May 2009. 
Sold For $30000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PHOKIS, Delphi. Amphiktionic issues. Circa 338/6-334/3 BC. AR Stater (12.10 g, 10h). Head of Demeter left, wearing grain-ear wreath and veil / Apollo seated left on omphalos, right elbow resting on top of large kithara to left, left hand holding long laurel branch that rests on his left shoulder; tripod to left. Kinns, Amphictionic, dies O3/R6; Svoronos, Delphi 32; SNG Copenhagen -; Gulbenkian 487 (same dies). VF, lightly toned. Choice for grade.

In 373/2 BC, an earthquake destroyed the great Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Although reconstruction on the site commenced, the Phokian occupation of the sanctuary during the Sacred War of 355-346 BC prevented any full-scale work from occurring. In 338/6 BC, the Amphiktionic League decided to melt down the coinage comprising the temple treasury and mint a new series of coinage that would be used to finance a full reconstruction project. This new series comprised staters, drachms, and hemidrachms, whose types reflected the two sanctuaries controlled by the Amphiktionic League: the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and the Temple of Demeter at Anthela (near Thermopylai). The obverse of the staters depicts a left-facing head of Demeter, wearing a veil and grain-ear wreath in her traditional guise as the goddess of grain and fertility. On the reverse, Apollo is seated in a contemplative manner on an omphalos, holding a laurel branch and resting his elbow on a kithara. The omphalos, kithara, and laurel branch each recall a significant aspect of Apollo’s mythology, with the omphalos signifying his oracular seat at Delphi, the kithara his dominion over music, and the laurel (ἡ δάφνη) his personal badge, the result of his unrequited love for the nymph Daphne.