Silver tetradrachmon showing Dionysos is worth drinking to at Hess-Divo

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).

Naxos tetradrachon Dionysos
The Naxos tetradrachmon shows Dionysos at his very best


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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