Among the finest known 20 Asses from Populonia, ex Münzen und Medaillen AG 75, 4 December 1989, 5
Lot 5
ETRURIA. Populonia. Circa 300-250 BC. 20 Asses (Silver, 24 mm, 8.61 g). Diademed facing head of Metus with protruding tongue; below, X:X (mark of value). Rev. Blank. EC Group XII, 58.118 (this coin, O33). HGC 1, 111. HN Italy 152. SNG Ashmolean 5 (same obverse die). SNG Paris 9 (same obverse die). Beautifully toned and perfectly centered on an unusually complete flan, an exceptional example and undoubtedly among the finest known. Very light die wear on the obverse, otherwise, good extremely fine.

Ex Münzen und Medaillen AG 75, 4 December 1989, 5.

As one of the few Etruscan settlements with access to the sea, Populonia (etr. 𐌐𐌖𐌐𐌋𐌖𐌍𐌀, or Pupluna), located opposite the island of Elba, played an important role early on as a trading city. However, it gained particular significance as the center for smelting the iron ore extracted from Elba. The enormous slag waste generated over almost a millennium of industrial iron smelting was deposited along the entire southern coast of the peninsula and further processed by an Italian smelting company from 1929 to 1969, during which significant Tholoi were uncovered - evidently, during the late period of the city, the slag was haphazardly dumped over some of the city's nekropoleis.

Populonia's wealth is evidenced not least by its coinage, which represents by far the most significant among the Etruscan cities. A particularly popular motif is the head of the Medusa with protruding tongue. The Gorgon was known to the Etruscans as Metus, and her name would later enter the Latin language as a loanword for 'fear.' Unfortunately, many of the coins from Populonia are struck from poor dies on small flans, often exhibiting die rust and striking weaknesses. Our specimen, however, depicts the head of Metus in full size on an unusually broad flan and undoubtedly belongs to the finest surviving examples of this impressive coinage.
10000 CHF
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