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Research Coins: Printed Auction


The Infant Herakles

Sale: Triton XIII, Lot: 131. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 4 January 2010. 
Sold For $14000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BOEOTIA, Thebes. Circa 425-395 BC. AR Stater (12.36 g). Boeotian shield / The Herakliskos Drakonopnigon: The infant Herakles seated facing, head right, strangling two serpents; bow to left, club to right, Θ-E below; all within circular incuse. BCD Boiotia 455 (same rev. die); Myron Hoard pl. B, 35; SNG Copenhagen 303 (same rev. die); Gulbenkian 503 (same rev. die); McClean 5582 (same rev. die). EF, usual compact flan. Exceptional metal. Boldly struck. Rare.

Herakles was the son of Zeus and Alkmene. This union and the child it produced enraged Zeus’ wife, Hera, who tried to kill Herakles. Shortly after his birth, she sent two serpents one night to strangle the infant as he lay sleeping in his crib. The following morning, the nurse discovered Herakles playing with their lifeless bodies: during the night he had strangled one in each hand. This early example of his renowned strength earned him the name Herakliskos Drakonopnigon, or “the serpent-slaying infant Herakles.”