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    Description

    Sensational Olbian Cast Dolphin

    BLACK SEA REGION. Olbia. Ca. 437-410 BC. Cast Æ dolphin (90mm, 84.80 gm). Dolphin leaping right, with defined central spine and four vertical lines, circular eye / Smooth convex surface with small + in relief. SNG BM Black Sea 359. Anokhin 173. Incredibly rare, apparently only the fifth known specimen, the other three located in museum collections (Kiev Ukrainian Archaeological Museum, the British Museum, and the Moscow State Historical Museum)! Superbly cast with only two tiny surface pits, lovely green patina with earthen encrustation. Choice Extremely Fine.

    Founded in the late 7th century BC on the coast of present-day Ukraine, Olbia, was a colony of Miletus located at the junction of the Hyspanis and Borysthenes rivers  and grew prosperous on trade between the nomadic Scythians and the Greeks. At first lacking sufficient quantities of silver or gold to institute a precious metal coinage, it instead used an innovative casting technique to produce a sizable and varied coinage in bronze. Among the earliest types is a series of denominations in the shape of dolphins, ranging in size from about 22mm and 1.5 grams to this immense piece, more than 90mm in length and weighing 88 grams. This was the largest "dolphin" type issued and today, while the smaller pieces are quite common, authentic examples are extremely rare, with only a handful of specimens extant. Olbia later acquired sufficient silver and gold through trade to institute a precious metal coinage, and is the likely mint spot for the Koson gold staters of the later first century AD.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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