CALABRIA. Tarentum. Circa 500-490 BC. Didrachm or Nomos (Silver, 20 mm, 7.67 g, 12 h). ΣAЯAT Youthful oikist, nude and with long hair, riding dolphin to right, holding octopus in his right hand and extending his left towards cable border. Rev. ΣAЯAT Hippocamp to left; below, cockle shell. Fischer-Bossert 28 (V12/R22). HN Italy 827. SNG Oxford 199 (same dies). Vlasto 115 (same dies). Very rare and among the finest known. A beautifully struck and exceptionally well preserved piece of wonderful late Archaic style. Very light deposits on the obverse, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
Few Greek cities in Magna Graecia rivalled Tarentum in terms of their power. Situated on an easily defensible peninsula and equipped with two ideal harbors, it was the only colony ever founded by Sparta, retaining close cultural relationships with its mother city throughout the centuries. Tarentum's might can be seen in the city's abundant silver coinage, which was struck in great quantities for almost three centuries from circa 510 to 209 BC. Our coin comes from the very rare early series, forming part of the so-called double relief coinage struck in the first two decades of the 5th century BC.