Armstrong Economics Blog/Ancient History Re-Posted May 18, 2023 by Martin Armstrong
The Balkck Sea Trade – Tauric Chersonesus, Panticapaeum.
This is probably the finest known Gold Stater (circa 350-300AD) of Panticapaeum, which was the most powerful city in the Tauric Chersonesus with deep involvement in the lucrative Black Sea grain trade for even back then, Ukraine was a major bread-basket in the ancient world as well. This coin is featuring the facing and bearded head of Pan, with the reverse of a Griffin standing left. The griffin type probably alludes to the mythical composite creatures who were believed to guard the gold found in the mountains of Scythia. The Greeks were wonderful storytellers with vivid imaginations. Herodotus describes the griffins as neighbors to the Arimaspi, a northern people each possessing a single eye in the center of their foreheads, who made constant attempts to steal the gold (4.13.1). Pliny the Elder, who accepted the story at face value, expanded it to note that the griffins made their nests in burrows in the ground which contained gold nuggets and it was these that the Arimaspi tried to take while the griffins were merely defending their eggs and young (HN 7.2, 10.70).
The providence of this coin dates back to Ex F. Schlessinger XI, 1934, and it was sold as the Russian Hermitage duplicates part II, lot 102. It was then sold in the New York XXVII, sale of 2012, where it was featured on the cover. Previously privately purchased from Bank Leu in 1991 in Switzerland. This coin is extremely rare with only a handful known at best. It’s artistic design is considered to be unsurpassed. This is probably the finest known. It sold at auction back in 2012 for $325.000 + 20%
This coin just sold today in Zurich, Switzerland for 4,400,000 CHF + 20% Commission fee. In US dollars, that is $4,862,787 +20% = $5,834,400. This was about 1500% rise in just about 10 years. In all honesty, I have collected ancient coins since I was probably 12 years old. The field of ancient coins has expanded worldwide with major collectors from China to Russia. This coin was estimated at $1,250,000. The sale continues tomorrow with the Roman. I am truly shellshocked by the prices everything is selling for these days. As I have said, ancient coins are a worldwide market unlike particular national coins which fetch the highest prices in their home country.