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Olbia, Sarmatia/Scythia, Cast Æ Grave, Gorgon & Eagle, Huge!

Cast Æ; 66mm/83.4gm -   Ca. 437-410 BC

Con/ Very Fine; Impressive and boldly cast with a beautiful and untouched dark brown old cabinet patina with bronze highlights

Obv/ Facing gorgoneion with full cheeks, triangular chin and protruding tongue

Rev/ Sea eagle flying right, wings spread, holding in its talons a dolphin right; A-P-I-X in angles formed by wings..but, in this case, the X is below the dolphin. Even more rare!

Ref/ SNG BM Black Sea 383; Anokhin 168

Seller's Note/ The impressive cast bronzes of Olbia on the Black Sea in many ways presaged the development of the Aes Grave coinage in Italy, although the regions were separated by more than 1,000 miles. Olbia, a colony of Miletus located at the junction of the Hyspanis and Borysthenes rivers in the wilds of Scythia, grew prosperous on trade between the nomadic Scythians and the Greeks. It employed a unique form of coinage consisting of cast bronzes of various sizes and shapes. The smallest Olbian bronzes were made in the shape of dolphins; larger denominations bore a facing gorgon's head backed by a sea eagle clutching a dolphin. Like the early Romans, the Olbians apparently traded these pieces at "true," as opposed to token value, meaning the largest denominations were truly immense and heavy, as seen with this extraordinary piece.

For your discerning pleasure, we have provided you with the three different in photos. The last is with a flash. Wow!

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