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    Description

    Life & Death Struggle

    MACEDON. Acanthus. Ca. 525-475 BC. AR tetradrachm (27mm, 17.20 gm).  Attic standard. Lion lunging left, sinking teeth and claws into hindquarters of bull crouching right, its head thrown back; stylized bucranium or floral ornament in exergue / Quadripartite incuse square with rough, irregular interior surfaces. Desneux 2-8 variant (unlisted dies). SNG ANS 1-3. Cf. Kraay-Hirmer 397. A bold, dramatic depiction of this life-and-death struggle, with a well-centered obverse struck in exceptional high relief. NGC Choice XF? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    From the collection of the MoneyMuseum, Zurich. Ex Tkalec (23 October 1998), lot 24.

    Of the Archaic Greek coinages, the imagery of Acanthus is among the most striking and influential, depicting a lion attacking a bull, a motif soon adopted by several other cities. Lions prowled the hinterlands of Thrace and Macedon in this era and Herodotus recounts an episode when the baggage train of the Persian King Xerxes's army was set upon by lions during its march from Asia Minor into Greece proper. This particular rendering of the life-and-death struggle is especially powerful, with its yin-yang juxtapositioning of the two animals struck in living high relief, displaying the full vigor of Archaic Greek art. The reverse, by contrast, is a crude incuse with rough interior surfaces, indicating this is one of the earliest tetradrachms struck in what would be a long series struck over the following decades.


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
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