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    Description

    Pedigreed to the Vlasto Collection

    CALABRIA. Tarentum. Ca. 340-325 BC. AR stater or nomos (21mm, 7.96 gm, 6h).  Nude rider on horseback right, holding lance in right hand and shield with two javelins in left; KAΛ below, A-N-X around / TAPAΣ, Taras seated on dolphin right, holding Phrygian helmet with falling plume; KAΛ below. Vlasto 558 (this coin). Fischer-Bossert 740a (this coin). Struck from dies of wonderful style and possessing lovely old cabinet toning. NGC AU? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    Ex Monnaies et Médailles 88 (May 1999), lot 12; Monnaies et Médailles X (1951), lot 169. Ex Vlasto Collection, from the Carosino Hoard (IG 1928).

    Tarentum was founded in 705 BC by Spartan outcasts called Parthenei, who were sons born out of wedlock to Spartan girls and non-citizen freedmen. Their leader, Phalanthus, sought counsel from the Delphian Oracle and was told to choose a harbor on the "heel" of Italy for the new settlement. Another foundation myth holds that Taras, a son of Poseidon by the nymph Satyrion, was cast into the sea by a shipwreck and rescued by a dolphin sent by his father; the place where he was delivered became the eponymous city. The rescue scene is shown on Tarentum's popular coinage, which two millennia later was avidly collected by Michel P. Vlasto (1876-1936), a Greek aristocrat whose mercantile career took him to Paris, Liverpool, and Houston before he settled in Athens late in life. His fascination with the coinage of Tarentum produced one of the most comprehensive collections ever assembled covering a single series, and was published by Oscar Ravel in 1947. This lovely coin from the Vlasto Collection reflects the beauty of Tarentine coinage. 


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    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
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