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    Description

    Incredible Olbia Cast Bronze

    BLACK SEA REGION. Olbia. Ca. 437-410 BC. Cast Æ (70mm, 114.76 gm, 12h). Facing gorgoneion with full cheeks, triangular chin and protruding tongue  / Sea eagle flying right, wings spread, holding in its talons a dolphin right; A-P-I-X in angles formed by wings. SNG BM Black Sea 383. Anokhin 168. An impressive and gigantic piece, well cast, with a perfect brown patina. Choice Extremely Fine.

    The impressive cast bronzes of Olbia on the Black Sea in many ways presaged the development of the Aes Grave coinage in Italy, although the regions were separated by more than 1,000 miles. Olbia, a colony of Miletus located at the junction of the Hyspanis and Borysthenes rivers in the wilds of Scythia, grew prosperous on trade between the nomadic Scythians and the Greeks. It employed a unique form of coinage consisting of cast bronzes of various sizes and shapes. The smallest Olbian bronzes were made in the shape of dolphins; larger denominations bore a facing gorgon's head backed by a sea eagle clutching a dolphin.  Like the early Romans, the Olbians apparently traded these pieces at "true," as opposed to token value, meaning the largest denominations were truly immense and heavy, as seen with this extraordinary piece.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
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