Coins featuring Apollo bring strong prices in Swiss sale
- Published: Nov 30, 2020, 9 AM
Apollo, a son of Zeus, is god of medicine and music, among other things, and is a frequent subject of ancient coinage.
Three highlights from Nomos Ag’s Nov. 21 auction reveal some of the ways he was depicted. How popular is Apollo as a coinage subject? Some 30 lots of the 396 in the sale depict the Olympic deity.
Leading the Apollo coins is a gold stater from Northeast Gaul (modern day France), which realized 72,000 Swiss francs ($79,044 U.S.), including the 20 percent buyer’s fee, against an estimate of 32,500 francs ($35,680 U.S.). All prices realized reflect the buyer’s fee.
The circa 100 to 57 B.C. coin was issued by the Parisii, a Gaulish tribe on the banks of the river Seine during the Iron Age.
The coin’s obverse shows a “bold and stylistically impressive head” of Apollo in the Celtic style, facing right, the firm said.
A stylized horse faces left on the reverse, with a fancy textile of tasseled, checkered fabric draped above it.
The coin weighs 7.36 grams and measures 21.5 millimeters in diameter, slightly smaller but heavier than a copper-nickel clad U.S. quarter dollar.
Another Apollo option is the circa 168 to 133 B.C. silver tridrachm from Alabanda, in Caria, Greece.
This coin depicts a laureate head of an almost feminine image identified as Apollo.
The reverse shows a stylized Pegasus flying to the right, within a laurel wreath.
This coin weighs 11.02 grams and measures 28.5 millimeters in diameter, about as heavy as but slightly smaller than a copper-nickel clad Kennedy half dollar.
The coin realized 3,360 francs ($3,689 U.S.) against an estimate of 750 francs ($823 U.S.).
Also offered was a circa 246 to 226 B.C. silver drachm of Seleukos II Kallinikos, perhaps issued for Magnesia in Greece.
It had an estimate of 450 francs ($494 U.S.) and realized 2,640 francs ($2,898 U.S.).
The coin’s obverse features a diademed head of Seleukos II, with long sideburns.
The reverse shows Apollo Delphios (in his guise as a god of prophecy), an arrow in his right hand, leaning on a tripod with his left arm.
The coin weighs 4.29 grams and measures 19 millimeters in diameter, about the size of a Jefferson 5-cent coin.
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