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Research Coins: Printed Auction


First Numismatic Depiction of Zeus at Olympia
Ex Gillet and Andritsaena Hoard

Triton XVI, Lot: 401. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $70000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ELIS, Olympia. 91st Olympiad. 416 BC. AR Stater (21mm, 12.26 g, 8h). Head of Zeus right, wearing wreath of olive leaves / Vertical thunderbolt, with upper volutes and lower wings; F-A across central field, tiny Δ-A above wreath ties; all within wreath of olive leaves tied below. C. Seltman, “The Katoché Hoard of Elean Coins” in NC 1951, 147 bis = Gillet 975 = S. Garraffo, “Zeus Eleutherios - Zeus Olympios, Note di numismatica siracusana” in AIIN 23 (1976), pl. IV, 1 (this coin); Seltman, Temple 145 (dies BQ/γo); BCD Olympia 67 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen –; ACGC 328 = Kraay & Hirmer 499 = Traité III 1078 (same obv. die). Good VF, even gray toning with slight golden hue around the devices, a little off center, slight die shift on reverse. Extremely rare and of fine style. Probably the finest known of this issue.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 29 (11 May 2005), lot 192; Leu 54 (28 April 1992), lot 106; Charles Gillet Collection; 1948 Andritsaena Hoard (IGCH 48).

One of the great rarities of Olympian coinage, this stater bears the first portrait of Zeus in the series. Here the father of the gods is depicted wearing a wreath of olive leaves, as on the famous gold and ivory statue of Zeus by Phidias, which was soon replaced by a new portrait wearing a laurel wreath. Only two obverse and three reverse dies are known to have been engraved for this issue, and the fine style suggests that the small Δ-A on the reverse is the signature of a master engraver, who was responsible for this novel coinage at Olympia.