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One of my favorite ancients


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I just love this little coin.  The owl looks as though he's had a lot of caffeine.

Greece (Spartans in Taras, Calabria, Italy): ca. 302-281 BC silver drachm

coins ancient to greek greece spartans in taras calabria italy ca 302 281 bc silver drachm

coins ancient to greek greece spartans in taras calabria italy ca 302 281 bc silver drachm

coins ancient to greek greece spartans in taras calabria italy ca 302 281 bc silver drachm


Obverse: Head of Athena right, wearing helmet with figure of the monster Scylla hurling a stone.
Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing, TAP left, ZOP (magistrate’s name) over olive branch.
Issuer: Spartan colony of Taras in Calabria.
Specifications: Silver, 16.9 mm maximum diameter, weight 3.233 g, die axis 180°.
Grade: NGC XF; Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5, cert.# 4280918-003. Purchased raw.
Reference: Vlasto 1049; SNG ANS 1303; HN Italy 975; BMC Italy p. 201, 309; SGCV I 367.*
Provenance: Ex-Forum Ancient Coins, USA, 28 June 2017.* Prior provenance to Art of Money, Portland, Oregon, USA.
Notes: This is an exceptional example of the artistry on the coinage of the Spartan colony in Taras, Calabria, situated at the southern tip of Italy. The city was later known to the Romans as Tarentum. The modern Italian city is called Taranto.
Comments: This is one of my favorite coins. I love that startled-looking little owl.

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Lovely example! Athena's helmet is fantastic as is the owl!

I recently bought this Calabrian. I plan on doing a Herakles first labor write up on it this weekend. The Athena is ho-hum, but I really liked the artistry of the lions body. You can see it wriggling to get out of Herakles choke hold (as we know, to no avail).


Calabria, Tarentum Diobol circa 325-280, AR 12.00 mm., 0.85 g.
Head of Athena r., wearing crested Attic helmet. Rev. Heracles standing facing, strangling the Nemean Lion to r.; club to l., Z between legs. cf. Vlasto 1398. Historia Numorum Italy 976.

Good Very fine

Edited by Ryro
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Nice diobol! The TAPAN, and the TAP on the drachm, is the ethnic. 

Taras, Calabria

302 - 281 BC (Period VI)
AR Drachm (16mm, 3.09g, 3h)
Nikokrates magistrate.
O: Head of Athena right, wearing Attic helmet decorated with Skylla throwing stone.
R: Owl with closed wings standing right on Ionic capital, head facing; [NIKO]KPAT[HΣ] to left, TA to right.
Vlasto 1099 (this coin); HN Italy 1052
From the M.P. Vlasto Collection. ex CNG

Vlasto plate coin, #1099.

~ Peter 


Edited by Phil Anthos
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