World Coins

Greek mythology collides on ancient coin

A circa 382 to 356 B.C. silver stater from Lokris Opuntii in ancient Greece highlights e-auction No. 14 by Davissons Ltd., closing March 30.

Coin images courtesy of Davissons Ltd.

A silver stater issued about 382 to 356 B.C. reflects two different Greek legends.

The coin, which was issued in Lokris Opuntii (Eastern Lokris, the eastern coast of central Greece), highlights Davissons Ltd.’s e-auction No. 14 closing March 30. 

The coin weighs 12.1 grams and measures 23 millimeters in diameter, slightly smaller and lighter than a Washington quarter dollar. 

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The obverse depicts Persephone facing left, topped with a wreath and wearing a triple pendant earring and necklace. Persephone, daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter, is the queen of the underworld.

The reverse depicts Ajax in the buff, nude but for a crested Corinthian helmet, in battle stance facing right, holding a shield decorated with a serpent with his left arm and a short sword in his right hand; underneath which appears a Phrygian helmet. The Greek hero Ajax fought to claim Helen of Troy in Homer’s classic Iliad, one poignant Bronze Age conflict at the heart of the Trojan War.

The auction house describes the coin as Extremely Fine with “fresh surfaces, old toning with traces of iridescence; minor die wear on obverse.”

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The coin has an estimate of $2,500 and previously realized a hammer price of $3,000 in Classical Numismatic Group’s Triton XI auction on Jan. 7, 2008. 

To learn more about the auction, visit Davissons’ website.

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