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Harlan J. Berk Ltd.
Buy or Bid Sale 218  10 Feb 2022
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23 days 7 hr 24 min

Crete, Cnossus. Tetradrachm; Crete, Cnossus; c. 80 BC, Tetradrachm, 14.08g. BMC-41, SNG Lockett-2542, Svoronos-6, 18. Obv: Laureate head of Apollo l.; [?]??-??S across lower field. Rx: Rare circular labyrinth with ethnic KNO/S–I/[ON] above, to l. and r., and below. Ex Stacks ANA Auction, Session D, August 2021, lot 42087. This is the only time a circular labyrinth occurred on tetradrachms with probably fewer than ten known to exist. Only three other auction appearances: Lockett 2018 ex Hermitage and NAC 126, 17 November 2021, lot 188 (with two edge chips, sold for 73,800 CHF) = Leu 42, 1987, lot 266 = Leu 15, 1976, lot 263 estimated at 45,000 CHF. Kunker 136, 10 March 2008, lot 186 with same dies as our example and price realized over $40,000. Missing from the following important collections:
Ward (Metropolitan Museum)-
Traité (Paris)-
On command by King Minos of Crete, the labyrinth, a complex maze, was created and designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus. In the center of the labyrinth resided the Minotaur, which had a man's body but the head of a bull. To keep the Minotaur fed, Minos ordered that seven youths and seven maidens be given in tribute every nine years. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.When the ancient Greeks entered Cnossus, they found the remains of a more ancient city where the tops of the buildings were gone and pictures of bulls were painted on the walls. They assumed that the buildings of the city without roofs were a maze controlled by a bull-headed man. While this was incorrect, it left us with beautiful coins with labyrinths and on rare issues an image of a bull-headed man. This excessively rare coin is an artist's image of a round labyrinth that in fact never could have existed. VF
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