CALABRIA. Tarentum. Circa 280-228 BC. Multiple lot consisting of a small bronze box, 53 mm by 42 mm and 28 mm high, containing 4 silver diobols of Tarentum. The box seems to date to the late 4th century and imitates the larger wooden boxes used as ossuary urns. The bottom part stands on four legs outlined by vertical lines engraved on the body surface, thus delineating the two ends of the box and its front and back. The sides and back are further decorated by two parallel horizontal engraved lines approximately one third up from the bottom. The lid, detached, has a rolled hinge and a flat top with remains of solder, presumably for attaching a decorative repoussé relief now lost. When found the box contained four diobols of Tarentum, all dating circa 280-228 (though probably in the earlier part of that period), and all with a helmeted head of Athena on their obverses and a standing figure of Herakles grappling with the Nemean Lion on their reverses. Their detailed description is as follows:
1. 1.14 g, 12. Athena with plain helmet/club to left and owl between legs of Herakles;
2. 1.26 g, 9. Athena with helmet adorned with hippocamp/owl to left and Ζ between the legs of Herakles;
3. 1.08 g, 5. As last,
4. 1.25 g, 3. Athena with helmet adorned with three pellets and Ζ/ aplustre to left. For the box, cf. M. True and K. Hamma, eds., A Passion for Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (Malibu, 1994), 29 for a very similar box, slightly larger and with its original repoussé decoration intact. For the diobols, cf. HN III 1061 for all and, for 1., SNG ANS 1454-1455. SNG France 2123. Vlasto 1405; 2 & 3, SNG ANS 1450-1451. Vlasto 1399; 4. SNG ANS-. Vlasto 1376-1380. A fascinating object. The box has been professionally cleaned and restored, but is intact, the coins are all lustrous and basically as found - the first and third are slightly off center and the fourth has some die rust on the reverse. The box is in excellent condition, the coins are all about extremely fine.
Hammer Price: 10500 CHF
Estimate: 5000 CHF