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Research Coins: Printed Auction


The Finest of Eight Known

Triton XXII, Lot: 106. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $42500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BRUTTIUM, Temesa. Circa 475-425 BC. AR Nomos (17.5mm, 8.00 g, 9h). Tripod with high neck surmounted by wreaths and legs terminating in lion's feet; a pair of greaves flanking / Crested Corinthian helmet right; TEM below. Stazio pl. 21, 10; HN Italy – (see below); Basel 234 (same dies); Garrucci pl. CXVI, 27; Jameson 464 (same dies); CNG 72, lot 170 (same dies); NAC 48, lot 22 = NAC 8, lot 107 (same dies); Peus 407, lot 141 = MuM AG 61, lot 32 (same dies). EF, toned. Remarkable quality for issue. Extremely rare, the finest of approximately 8 known.

From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza & Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan Joint Collection (Numismatica Genevensis SA IX, 14 December 2015), lot 5; Star Collection (LHS 102, 29 April 2008), lot 54; Leu 86 (5 May 2003), lot 263.

From the consignor: A second example of this famous alliance between Kroton and Temesa, but this time after the brief loss of control to the Lokroi. The raised relief example is nearly as rare as the incuse variety, but here it includes the ethnic below the helmet “TEM.”

As recently as the publication of Historia Nummorum Italy (2001), many scholars had dismissed this issue as the product of modern forgers (cf. HN p. 193). This conclusion was primarily founded on the forgery of this type created by Becker in 1828 (Hill 14), combined with the extreme rarity of the extant examples. Nonetheless, a few examples are known that are clearly not pieces from Becker's dies (e.g. Basel 234). Perhaps most significantly, these scholars overlooked the existence of an example in F. Carelli’s manuscript catalogue of 1812 (C. Cavedoni, Francisci Carellii Numorum Italiae Veteris Tabulas CCII [Leipzig, 1950], pp. iii and 97), which clearly existed at least 15 years prior to Becker's forgeries.

Very little is known today about the history of Temesa (also known as Tempsa) other than that the city was either of Aitolian or Phocaian origin, and is thought to have been linked to the city of Sybaris. Following Kroton's destruction of Sybaris, Temesa was apparently dominated by Kroton, as evidenced by this coin type. These nomoi feature the tripod, the civic badge of Kroton, and were paralleled by a similar issue at Kroton (see lot 84, above, for information on these issues). From the later fifth century BC, Temesa was conquered by a number of other cities until finally falling under Roman domination. With the chaos of its later history, it is not surprising that this is its sole known coinage.