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Lot 4005

Calabria, Tarentum/Taras. Gold Half Stater (4.26g) struck ca. 334-332 BC. TAPANTINΩN. Head right of Hera, wearing stephane, triple-pendant earring and beaded necklace, hair falling in waves down her neck; to left, E. Reverse: TAPAΣ. Naked Taras riding dolphin left, holding a small dolphin left on his outstretched right hand, trident in left; below left, T (horizontal); below right, K. SNG ANS 955; HN Italy 902; Vlasto 5; Jameson 149 (same dies). Natural honey color toning. A magnificent example of the finest style. Superb Extremely Fine.

"E" is probably a signed master die.

The Spartan colony of Taras produced a coinage of remarkable variety over a period of three hundred years, commencing in the late sixth century BC. Gold denominations were issued on several occasions in connection with extraordinary expenses associated with military operations. This gold half stater or drachm, possibly the equivalent of six silver nomoi, appears to date to the period of the intervention of Alexander the 'Molossian' into the affairs of southern Italy (ca. 334-330 BC). The Epirote king was endeavoring to aid the Tarentines in their struggle against the Lucanians and Bruttians of the interior, but the war was terminated by Alexander's death in battle near Pandosia in Bruttium. Although standard on most Tarentine silver issues, the depiction of the dolphin-rider on gold is rare. It refers to Taras, legendary founder of the forerunner of the Greek colony, who was saved from drowning following a shipwreck, when his father Poseidon sent a dolphin to carry the youth safely to the shore.
Estimated Value $15,000 - 20,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 8, 3 April 1995, lot 27.

Realized $23,000

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