Estimate: 55000 CHF
Price realized: 51000 CHF
Phokis. Delphi. 336-334 BC. Stater (Silver, 24 mm, 12.25 g, 5 h). Veiled head of Demeter to left, wearing wreath of grain leaves. Rev. ΑΜΦΙ-ΚΤΙΟ-ΝΩΝ Apollo seated left on omphalos, resting his chin on his right hand with his right elbow propped on a large lyre at his side, and, in his left hand, holding a laurel branch; to left, small tripod. Kinns, Amphictionic, 5-6 (dies O1/R4). Very rare. Toned and nicely struck. Nearly extremely fine.
From the Molard Collection, Switzerland, ex 51 Gallery, Brussels, 13 November 2015, 29, and from the collection of Michel Eddé.
The Temple of Apollo was destroyed by an earthquake in 373 and almost immediately the members of the Amphictionic League began collecting contributions to rebuild it. The process suffered numerous interruptions but was finally finished c. 330 BC; the collected silver was, however, struck into coins in the mid 330s as recorded in the fragmentary accounts of the Amphictions. In Kinns' reworking of Raven's original study of these coins, and of the treasury accounts that refer to them, he was able to provide us with a good idea about how many coins were actually struck - and their survival rate. In the case of the staters, of which Kinns was able to record 26 genuine examples, this would mean that only one out of approximately ten thousand pieces originally struck still survives. As with so many Greek coins, the beauty of this coin's design, with its lovely head of Demeter and its figure of a pensive Apollo sitting on the omphalos that marked the center of the world, shows how the Greeks believed that the money they minted had to be both useful and attractive to the eye.