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Finding the corrected reference after some while


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As some colleagues have noticed, I like buying various coins with mythologic scenes. Condition is not the dominant factor - although I try to avoid coins that are too worn (this is a subjective point of view and might differ) and, especially, coins where attribution becomes impossible. 
If the price doesn't break the bank, well, this is another major plus. 

I bought this coin in July 2021 and was very pleased with the overall look, the mythologic motif AND the price. Almost nobody liked this coin and I consider the 12 euros + fees money well spent 🙂 


The house described it just as Calabria, Tarentum. Diobol AR. 10 mm, 0,90 g

So when I attributed it I considered it is similar to 


Apulia, Tarentum, c. 380-325 BC. AR Diobol (10mm, 0.75g, 3h). Head of Athena r., wearing crested helmet decorated with hippocamp. R/ Herakles kneeling r., holding club, fighting the Nemean Lion. Vlasto 1303-6; HNItaly 911.


All good, as checked the similarities are clear, same design, hippocamp on the helmet, case closed. 

I posted it on Cointalk on some discussions back then and didn't pay much attention to it (as in - never doubted the attribution).

I recently received a notification that somebody quoted one of my CT posts... specifying that my coin is from Lucania, Heraklea.
So I decided to investigate a little more and found an identical design from Lucania indeed. 
I was aware of those but I didn't consider Lucania correct, basing mainly on the initial attribution from the house. 

Now my problem was - how to distinguish the Heraklea coins from Tarentum coins?!

I started comparing the types, hoping to see some minor difference in design or anything to clarify. My coin is worn and this didn't help at all. 

In the end I think I found the difference. Here is an Acsearch query 


and a relevant coin 


Apparently attribution is based on the reverse legend 



and the gentleman from CT noticed this very well (the letters are slightly better visible in hand)


Correct attribution is 

Lucania, Herakleia. 432-420 BC. Athena with Attic helmet to right, ornamented with Hippocamp / HE, Herakles kneeling right, wrestling the Nemean lion. Van Keuren 38; SNG ANS 35; HN Italy 1360.

I am always glad when I manage to clarify an attribution and correct it. And I always like to make sure my attributions are right!

Please post
- coins with identical (or extremely similar) designs where you corrected the attribution
- Magna Graecia coins
- anything you feel relevant



Edited by ambr0zie
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6 hours ago, ambr0zie said:


This is the nearest I have. Not Herakleia I'm afraid. Only just  picked it up.

CALABRIA. Tarentum. Circa 375-370 BC. Diobol (Silver, 13 mm, 1.11 g, 6 h). Head of Athena to right, wearing crested Attic helmet the bowl of which is decorated with a hippocamp; below chin, Λ. Rev. TAPAN-TINΩΝ Herakles leaning to right, lifting and strangling the Nemean lion grasped in a choke hold; in left field, club; between legs A. D'Andrea, Miglioli, Tafuri, Vonghia, Diobols, Type 57. HN III 914. SNG ANS 1385-86. Vlasto 1278. Lightly toned. Good very fine.

The work they reference, D'Andrea, Miglioli et al  is very good for these. They just last  month  published the first of a series on Tarentum's coinage (vol one  6th century BC to 350BC), which I go a copy of, so I'll look yours  up there later and report back if anything interesting arises about  distinguishing the  mints!







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My example is also attributed to Tarentum, but after reading your write up, I think I have to check the reference myself. :classic_unsure:


Calabria - Tarentum
Obv.: Helmeted head of Athena left
Rev.: Heracles strangling Nemean lion
Ag, 1.20g, 12.1mm
Ref.: Pausanias V, 25, 8

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In case it helps anyone  identify if their coin is actually a  Tarentine diobol, the latest study, by D'Andrea, Miglioli, Tafuri, & Vonghia which came  out a few  weeks ago and aims to show all known types of the city's coinage, says there are just a few diobols that are relevant and all are  from 375-365BC.  They class them as Series XXIV and are as follows -

Type 450: Obv. \ Head of Athena facing right, helmet adorned with hippocamp; Rev.
Hercules seated on dead Nemean lion
Type 457: Obv. \ Head of Athena facing right, helmet adorned with hippocamp, 2, 1;
Rev.\ Hercules seated on rocks, TAPAN ethnic above
Type 452: Obv. \ Heac of Athena facing right, helmet adorned with hippocamp, E;
Rev.\ Hercules seated on rocks, TAPANT ethnic above, T
Type 453: Obv. \ Head of Athena facing right, helmet adorned with hippocamp; Rev.
Hercules standing and suffocating the Nemean lion, club, TAPA-[ ethnic above
Type 454: Obv. \ Head of Athena facing right, helmet adorned with hippocamp; Rev.
Hercules standing and suffocating the Nemean lion, K between the legs, club, TAPAN
ethnic above
Type 455: Obv.\ Head of Athena facing left, helmet adorned with Scylla; Rev.\
Hercules standing and suffocating the Nemean lion, I between the legs, TAPANTINON
ethnic above
Type 456: Obv.\ Head of Athena facing left, helmet adorned with hippocamp; Rev.
Hercules standing with left knee raised and suffocating the Nemean lion, club, trace;
of ethnic above and  on the reverse.

So all bar types 450 and 456 theoretically show a version of the ethnic above and on the reverse.

The  other thing  that may help decide  is the  authors say all of these are exceedingly rare. Mostly R4.

@shanxi I agree your  coin  is not any of these.


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450 is Herakles sitting on a dead lion, so yours is not that.

456 has him clearly standing, so yours  not that either.

I really can't tell if it is Herakleia though as I'm not expert there (aka  don't have relevant  thick  book in front of me🙂)

As for the legend/ethnic they don't  have  one for 450 and 456 is  ultra rare and in their example they say only "traces: of a legend. 

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I just saw your discussion on this on the “other” forum.

The man who replied to you is one of the authors of the book I was quoting! Miglioli. I’d pick his brains over mine any day.

Plus there’s always the risk or chance diobols from outside the period we were discussing could confuse the issue. Those coins I listed were only from the 6th century to 350BC.

Anyway, congratulations on finding a great source in that thread!

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Actually, he replied to an old post I wrote - I almost forgot about the diobol, anyway I wasn't thinking about reevaluating the attribution for it. So I don't deserve congratulations :). I am no longer active on CT - only reason being the lack of time so I prefer NF. I would be happy if he becomes active on one of the boards.
Indeed, mr Miglioli being a major specialist on these coins, I think my coin is definitely NOT from Tarentum.

Edited by ambr0zie
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