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    Stunning Portrait of Pan

    CIMMERIAN BOSPORUS. Panticapaeum. Ca. 340-320 BC. AV stater (21mm, 9.14 gm, 11h). NGC AU 5/5 - 2/5, Fine Style, scuff. Ca. 340-325 BC. Head of bearded Satyr (or Pan) left, wreathed with ivy bough / Π-A-N, griffin standing left, head facing, holding spear in its mouth, forepaw raised, on grain ear right. MacDonald 54. Anokhin 1021. HGC 7, 20. SNG BM Black Sea 864. Gulbenkian 587. Magnificently styled and carefully centered portrait perfectly complements the powerful imagery on the reverse. Flashy underlying luster.

    From the Collection of A Scottish Gentleman. Ex Classical Numismatic Group, Auction 105 (10 May 2017), lot 131; Numismatica Ars Classica 88 (8 October 2015), lot 394; Noble 100 (24 July 2012), lot 3360.

    Starting out as a Greek trading post on the northern Black Sea coast settled by Milesian pioneers in the 7th century BC, Panticapaeum soon grew into a thriving city and home to the Spartocid kings - dynastic Greek rulers of the Bosporus. The city's fabulous wealth derived from its fertile grain fields and the thriving fishing industry of the northern Black Sea, all leading to a rich trade with the cities of mainland Greece and Asia Minor. This wealth is attested by its gold coins, which are typically larger and weightier than contemporary Greek gold pieces, and depict a wild-eyed satyr typically thought to represent the city's patron god and namesake, Pan. Here, Pan is shown with an expression evoking his role in sowing discord and fear (hence the term "panic") in enemy armies. While thought of as a mythological creature today, the griffin depicted on the reverse was very real to the Greeks of the Thracian hinterland, where it was thought to live. Griffins were said to be highly covetous of gold, a trait carried over into medieval conceptions of the dragon. 


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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