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    Description

    CRETE. Gortyna. Ca. 330-270 BC. AR stater (24mm, 11.47 gm, 4h). NGC AU 4/5 - 4/5, overstruck. Europa, nude to the waist, seated facing in tree, raising her veil with right hand, left arm holding eagle with spread wings in her lap; below her, bull's head to left / Bull trotting to right, head turned left. BMC Crete 30. Svoronos p. 168, 84 and pl. XV, 7 (same obverse die). A handsome example of this very rare and enigmatic variety, better struck in sounder metal than usually encountered.


    This attractive type depicts the tale of Europa and the bull. Europa, a beautiful Phoenician maiden, was spotted by Zeus while she was picking flowers. Zeus became enamored with her, transformed himself into a tame white bull, and approached her. Enchanted, she caressed the bull and climbed onto his back. Seeing his chance, Zeus ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete, where (after the usual round of divine lovemaking), he made her queen. The imagery of Europa naturally features prominently on the coinage of Crete, but there are some puzzling aspects of this coin type. For example, the eagle in Europa's lap, and the tree in which she appears to be sitting, do not feature in the traditional tale. 


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
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