A classic ancient Greek coin from one of the grand masters of ancient
coin design highlights Tradart’s Nov. 20 auction in Brussels.
The circa 461 to 430 B.C. silver drachm of the city of Naxos,
designed by the person known as the Aetna Master (who was also
nicknamed the Brussels Master), highlights the sale. The Aetna Master
is known for his particular style and most famously created a unique
tetradrachm that is in the collection of the Royal Library of Belgium.
The coin in the Tradart auction features a “majestic” profile of
Dionysus, and is identified as made by the hands of the Aetna Master
because Dionysus’ beard breaks the circle of dots on the rim. This
original design “created a dynamic composition on the obverse to
bridge the divine and real worlds,” according to the auction house.
“This masterpiece of Greek coinage also illustrates the artistic
evolution taking place in the 5th century.”
On the reverse, Silenus’ “striking figure,” with stylized muscles
and in profile on a front-facing body, “reveals the full power of the
later Archaic period,” according to Tradart. “Dionysus’ face, on the
obverse, is treated more realistically. He shows the human facet of
the divine and illustrates the transitioning aesthetics announcing the
The coin has an estimate of €28,000 to €32,000 ($35,673 to $40,769
in U.S. funds).
Catalogs may be ordered via email. To learn more about the auction, visit the
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