Choice Thurium Distater

Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio is excited to offer a plethora of lovely ancient coins in our upcoming Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. This week’s ancient coin highlight is a toned and attractive Distater from the Greek colony of Thurium, located in the south of Italy, at the “arch” of the boot. This colony was founded by Athenians around 443 B.C. The “Father of History” Herodotus is likely to have been one of the first colonists to settle here, and is credited with the earliest known critical historical work. With the Athenian people colonizing this region, it makes sense that their patron deity, Athena, would adorn their coinage.

The obverse design features a right facing head of Athena wearing an ornate Corinthian helmet adorned with an image of Scylla. This is important as the ancient Greeks believed that two monsters, Scylla and Charybdis, guarded the nearby narrow Strait of Messina, located between Italy and Sicily, in close proximity to the province of Thurium. Scylla was a mythical creature with the body of a sea serpent and long tentacle arms used to snatch the rowers of a ship. The reverse design features a large bull charging to the right, with the ethnic denoting the region and in exergue a torch and monogram. The bull was often used as a symbol on coinage in Italy, including, notably, during the Social Wars between Rome and a conglomerate of Italian States of which Thurium was one. These Italian states chose a Bull as their symbol, and their coinage would often feature the Italian bull goring a wolf (which symbolized Rome). This lovely coin features exceptional toning, and is a highlight of the ancient coins in this sale.

Look for this and other ancient and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming October/November Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo. Preview this coin along with the rest of our auction this October at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our Stack’s Bowers Galleries Baltimore auction is no longer open for consignments, we are currently taking consignments of ancient and world coins for our January 2015 New York International Auction and our April 2015 Hong Kong Showcase Auction of Asian Coins and Currency. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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