Silver tetradrachmon showing Dionysos is worth drinking to at Hess-Divo
The amazing silver tetradrachmon coin showing the Greek god of wine Dionysos brought $114,900
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Tuesday 1 November 2011
Hess-Divo completed its Coins and Medals from Ancient, Medieval and Modern Times auction in Switzerland at the end of last week.
As we expected, the stand out lot was a silver tetradrachmon bearing the face of a Greek God. It is nothing short of remarkable.
The extraordinarily clear features in the face's relief show the head of bearded Dionysos with a wide ribbon in his hair, which is decorated with a trailing ivy.
The reverse shows a nude, bearded Silenus sitting with his frontleg brought up, head turned to one side, he holds his right hand to a cup, and in his left hand he holds a thyrsus (a staff tipped with a pine cone and sometimes twined with ivy and vine branches, borne by Dionysus and his votaries).
The Sicilian piece (from Naxos, to be specific) was described by Hess-Divo as "a toast to pre-Christian art!", and indeed the image of the wine god seems worth drinking to.
The rare piece was listed at CHF 75,000 ($84,000), but bidders in the Zurich auction decided it was worth still more and it left the stage for a startling CHF100,000 ($114,900).
Ancient silver coins with impressive preservation and relief - such as this 2,400 year old silver Tetradrachm with Facing Head of Helios - can be very valuable and desirable, representing a piece of art and history from a distant time.
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