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Superb Greek Kyzikos EL Hekte with Helmeted Bust of Perseus

Superb Greek Kyzikos EL Hekte with Helmeted Bust of Perseus


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Greek: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1290668
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This attractive coin is a Greek EL (electron) hekte that was minted in Kyzikos, circa 550-500 B.C. This scarce piece shows the winged helmeted head of Perseus on the obverse, with a tunny fish behind; and the reverse is a quadripartite incuse square punch. This piece is superb quality (EF+/EF+), is approximately 12mm, 2.69gms, is well centered for the type, and has a lustrous high relief sharp portrait of the mythical figure Perseus. The portrait is also seen in the "Greek Archaic" artistic style, and is seen with a large almond eye, a large nose and chin, and a slight smile. "Greek Archaic" portraiture is also a very desirable feature highly valued by collectors of ancient Greek coins, and the portrait seen here is a fine example. There is also an unobtrusive test mark behind the bust, and is very difficult to see, and does not detract from the detailed and high relief portrait of Perseus. Kyzikos was located on the southwest shore of the Propontis in ancient Mysia next to the river Aisepos. The city's prosperity was due principally to its two fine harbors, which made it a convenient stopping point for merchant ships trading between the Aegean and Black Seas, and the coin seen here likely was made to facilitate port and shipping fees. Kyzikos principle export was the tunny fish, which is often seen on the obverse of it's coinage. The prevalence of winged beings seen on Kyzikene coinage is a reflection of an archaic mythical convention of art, that assigned wings to most divine or sacred entities as a symbol of their nature, and in the case of the gods, of their power to move across great distances. On the coin offered here, we see Perseus, who was the son of Zeus and the mortal Danae, who was the daughter of the king of Argos; and as Perseus had divine status, he was widely worshiped and admired among the ancient Greeks. On the exceptional coin offered here, he is depicted as a divine entity wearing a winged helmet, which is the so-called "Helm of Hades", which rendered its owner invisible to other supernatural entities and mortals. This winged helmet was given to him by Athena, in order to help him evade the gorgons Sthenno and Euryale after he had slain and decapitated their sister Medusa. The coin offered here is scarce to rare on the market, and is a rare depiction of Perseus. Von Fritze no. 65. SNG von Aulock no. 1186. Ex: Harlan Berk, Chicago, Ill., circa 1990's. Ex: Private New York collection. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: