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Lot # 109 - Auction is closed.Estimate: US$4500 / Unsold: Available at opening bid of US$ 4000 + Buyers Fee
Cyrenaica, Cyrene. Tetradrachm
Cyrenaica, Cyrene. c. 435-331 BC. Tetradrachm, 12.93g. (12h). Obv: Silphium plant with six leaves, K - V / P - A across field above and below. Rx: Head of Ammon right with ram's horn, short curly hair, and scraggly beard. BMC 73. Porous reverse surfaces but an impressive piece nonetheless, with complete and distinct types on both sides. Traces of overstriking on the reverse do not interfere with the image of the deity Ammon. EF.

Ex Frank L. Kovacs. Ex Nilus Coins. Ex G. Hirsch 275, 22 September 2011, lot 4150. Ex Schweizer Bankverein Zurich 33, September 1993, lot 463. Ex Christie's, 22 April 1986, lot 48.

The Cyrenaica with its Greek cities Cyrene and Barce was one of the main suppliers of grain to the ancient Mediterranean world. The silphium trade was also important, as shown by the use of the silphium plant as a coin type at both cities. Silphium, a plant that is now probably extinct, was used as medicine. The other side of the coins of Cyrene and Barce displayed a head of Zeus in a version specific to North Africa, with the horns of a ram, thus equivalent to the Egyptian god Amun. Zeus Ammon, as the Greeks called him, was introduced to the Greek pantheon as early as the early fifth century BC. The Boeotian poet Pindar, who wrote victory odes for Cyrenian aristocrats, is reported to have donated a statue of Zeus Ammon to a sanctuary in his homeland in c. 450 BC. The ram's horns on a head of Zeus will doubtless have mystified Pindar’s unsophisticated fellow-citizens!.
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