Punished for seeing a bathing goddess... a coin showing Actaeon may bring $200,000

As we've reported, one of the key lots in the extraordinary sale of Greek, Roman, Early Medieval, Early Modern Coins and Books which is taking place at Nomos is a Naxos silver drachm bearing the face of Dionysos. This is an extraordinarily well-preserved and beautiful coin, and may bring $275,000.

However, it is by no means the only beautiful coin in the sale, nor is it the only one likely to bring a six-figure sum.

Gold Lampsakos stater coin obverse
Actaeon begins his transformation...

Another spectacular piece is a Lampsakos gold stater, circa 394-350 BC. The head of the hunter Actaeon faces left on the obverse, with a stag's horn above his forehead. The reverse shows the forepart of Pegasus. Extremely rare, this is a spectacular coin of great beauty.

There are some minor marks on the reverse otherwise it is in good extremely fine condition. Once part of the Mieza collection, USA, it was previously sold at Gemini IV, 8 January 2008, 149, and should make an excellent investment.

Actaeon was a famous hunter who learnt his skills from the centaur Chiron. It seems that one day he accidentally came upon Artemis bathing: she was so angered by him seeing her naked that she transformed him into a stag and he was set upon and torn to pieces by his own hunting dogs.

Gold Lampsakos stater coin reverse
...whilst Pegasus takes flight

Here we see the start of the transformation process, with the horn just coming out of his head. He seems relatively unconcerned.

The coin is expected to bring $200,000 in the auction which takes place on May 10, 2011.


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