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Research Coins: Printed Auction


The Herakliskos Drakonopnigon

Triton XXII, Lot: 98. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $16000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BRUTTIUM, Kroton. Circa 400-325 BC. AR Nomos (20mm, 7.70 g, 11h). Head of Apollo right, wearing laurel wreath; KPOTΩNIA-TAΣ around / The Herakliskos Drakonopnigon: the Infant Herakles, nude, crouching facing on rock, head left, strangling a serpent in each hand. Attianese 163 (this coin illustrated and enlarged); HN Italy 2157; SNG ANS 386 (same dies); SNG Lloyd 617–8; Basel 199; Dewing 513; Gulbenkian 132–3; Jameson 433–4; Kraay & Hirmer 271; de Luynes 735 (same dies). EF, light iridescent tone, slightly off center. Fine style.

From the Gasvoda Collection, purchased from Numismatica Ars Classica. Ex Gorny & Mosch 219 (10 March 2014), lot 19; Giessener Münzhandlung 55 (14 May 1991), lot 30.

From the consignor: The reverse type, the infant Herakles strangling two serpents, is highly artistic and was struck during a time of superbly talented engravers working at the main coin-producing cities of Magna Graecia. This is a rare type and certainly among the best survivors of those coins. The father of Herakles was Zeus, who had impregnated Herakles’s mortal mother, Alkmene. Hera was naturally unhappy with the impending birth and had two serpents placed in the crib of the infant Herakles. Being the son of Zeus, the babe easily strangled them.