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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Myth of Erichthonios

CNG 106, Lot: 312. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $11500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MYSIA, Kyzikos. Circa 450-330 BC. EL Stater (15.5mm, 16.02 g). The Earth (Gaia) rising out of the ground, bearing in both hands the infant Erichthonios; below, tunny right / Quadripartite incuse square. Von Fritze I 157; Greenwell 31; Boston MFA 1500 = Warren 1449; cf. SNG BN 304 (hekte); BMC 65; Gillet –; Gulbenkian –; Jameson –; Myrmekion 77–9: Rosen –; Weber –; Kraay & Hirmer 713. VF, toned, slightly off center.

The myth of Erichthonios places him at the beginning of the line of Athenian kings. Born of Gaia through Hephaestus, the infant was entrusted to Athena, who gave him to the daughters of Kekrops of Athens in a sealed casket. When they opened the casket, the sight of the anguipedic (serpent-footed) Erichthonios drove the women to madness, and they hurled themselves off the Acropolis. Erichthonios was then left to found a new dynasty of the early kings of Athens. Although here the child is shown fully human, this rare Kyzikene stater is undoubtedly a representation of the beginning of this tale.