Classical Numismatic Group, USA-New York (NY)

08. January 2019 - 09. January 2019

Triton XXII

CNG’s Triton XXII Realizes $10.5 Million

Classical Numismatic Group, LLC (CNG) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and London, England held their annual Triton auction in conjunction with the 47th Annual New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) on January 8-9, 2019. The pre-sale estimate total for Triton XXII was $7,831,550, and the total of actual prices realized was $10,482,153, including the buyer’s fees, with 99% of all lots sold (all prices given are hammer, without buyer’s fees included).

Triton XXII featured 1456 lots of Greek, Celtic, Oriental Greek, Central Asian, Roman Provincial, Roman Republican & Imperatorial, and Roman Imperial coinage. Additionally, there were featured selections of Byzantine, Early Medieval, Islamic, World, and British coinage, as well as a nice selection of large lots.

Highlighted by a number of collections and numerous individual rarities, four collections in Triton XXII stood out:

  • Exceptional Greek and Roman Coins from the Gasvoda Collection with an emphasis on Magna Graecia and Sicily: realized $2,539,480 on $1,850,700 estimate.
  • Seleukid Coinage from the MNL Collection: realized $235,225 on $172,250 estimate.
  • The Michel Prieur Collection of Syro-Phoenician Silver Coinage: realized $417,370 on $216,550 estimate.
  • Roman Republican Coins from the Alan J. Harlan Collection: realized $363,175 on $273,950 estimate.

Individual highlights from each of the above collections are:

Lot 145.

Lot 145.

Masterpiece by Kimon

Lot 145: Sicily, Syracuse. Second Democracy. 466-405 BC. Tetradrachm. Obverse die signed by Kimon. Struck circa 406-405 BC. EF, toned with underlying luster in the devices. Well centered and struck. Realized $225,000 on an estimate of $150,000. (This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.)
From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Triton XIX (5 January 2016), lot 55; Triton XI (8 January 2008), lot 61 and cover coin.

This masterful facing head tetradrachm sets Kimon apart from all of his “signing master” contemporaries in Sicily. His rendition of the nymph Arethousa displays a degree of delicacy and control that set a new precedent in die engraving. The composition’s beautiful three-dimensional perspective is augmented by a fluid style that effectively conveys the natural motion of the nymph’s hair in her liquid environment. The nymph’s underwater environment is further emphasized by the placement of the dolphins, who weave themselves within her hair in a playful manner. The serenity of Arethousa’s countenance, with her full, pouting lips and other-worldly gaze from her almond-shaped eyes, conveys a sense of her place aloof from the realm of man, while the entire scene firmly secures her within our natural world. One may sense the pride Kimon took in the completion of his masterpiece, as his name is prominently engraved upon Arethousa’s ampyx. We know that Kimon’s tetradrachm was as revered for its beauty in the ancient world as much as it is today, as it became a model for facing-head issues of other cities, both local, such as Segesta, and around the Mediterranean, such as Larissa in Thessaly and Tarsos in Cilicia.

Lot 314.

Lot 314.

Ex Leu’s ‘Outstanding Collection'

Lot 314: Seleukid Empire. Demetrios I Soter. 162-150 BC. Tetradrachm. Soloi mint. Struck circa 155/4-150 BC. EF, deeply toned. High relief portrait. Realized $12,000 on an estimate of $3,000. (This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.)
From the MNL Collection. Hess-Leu 24 (16 April 1964), lot 239.

Lot 540.

Lot 540.

Hierapolitan Cult Statues of Atargatis and Haddad. As Described by Lucian of Samosata

Lot 540: Cyrrhestica, Hierapolis. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Tetradrachm. Struck AD 215-217. Good VF, toned. Extremely rare and important type, only 4 cited by Prieur, 1 in CoinArchives. Realized $14,000 on an estimate of $5,000. (This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.)
From the Michel Prieur Collection. Ex G. Hirsch 154 (13 May 1987), lot 556.

Lucian of Samosata describes in detail the Hierapolitan cult images of Haddad and Atargatis (whom he refers to as Zeus and Hera) in his De Dea Syria (31-33), a “guidebook” of sorts to the deities’ temple in Hierapolis and the cult practices taking place there. His description of the statues of Atargatis, Haddad, and the mysterious “symbol” comports wonderfully with the figures as they appear on this type:
The great temple is open to all; the sacred shrine to the priests alone and not to all of these, but only to those who are deemed nearest to the gods and who have the charge of the entire administration of the sacred rites. In this shrine are placed the statues, one of which is Hera, the other Zeus, though they call him by another name. Both of these are golden, both are sitting; Hera is supported by lions, Zeus is sitting on bulls...between the two there stands another image of gold, no part of it resembling the others. This possesses no special form of its own, but recalls the characteristics of other gods. The Assyrians themselves speak of it as a symbol, but they have assigned it no definite name. They have nothing to tell us about its origin, nor its form: some refer to it as Dionysus; others to Deukalion; others to Semiramis; for its summit is crowned by a golden pigeon, and this is why they allege it is the effigy of Semiramis.
The reverse of this coin is also illustrated in enlarged form on the back of the cover page of Prieur’s book.

Lot 910.

Lot 910.

Prophetic Priestess

Lot 910: Moneyer issues of Imperatorial Rome. T. Carisius. 46 BC. Denarius. Rome mint. Superb EF, lightly toned, lustrous. Exceptional for issue. Realized $4,750 on an estimate of $1,500. (This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.)
From the Alan J. Harlan Collection. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 40 (16 May 2007), lot 558.

This evocative type demonstrates that Roman moneyers were quite familiar with the legends and coin types of obscure Greek cities. The city of Gergis in Troas, near the site of ancient Troy, was said to be the birthplace of the Sibyl Herophile, a priestess with prophetic powers. Coins of the city struck circa 350-300 BC depict a head of the Sibyl on the obverse and a seated sphinx, symbol of prophecy, on the reverse. The types are repeated here, surely intended as a nod to the Trojan origins of Julius Caesar’s gens.

CNG is currently accepting consignments for its next mail bid auction, CNG 111, scheduled for 8 May 2019.

You can find the complete results’ list on the CNG website.

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