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    Description

    BLACK SEA REGION. Olbia. Ca. 437-410 BC. Cast AE dolphin (91mm, 71.83 gm). Choice VF. Dolphin leaping right, with defined central spine and three vertical lines / Flat, smooth reverse. SNG BM Black Sea 359. Anokhin 173. Extremely rare.

    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 more than 71 grams. This was the largest "dolphin" type issued and today, while the smaller pieces are quite common, authentic large module examples are extremely rare, with only a handful of specimens extant, most of which are in museum collections. 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.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    15th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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