Exceptionally well struck and pedigreed early Drachm from Velia
LUCANIA. Velia. Circa 535-465 BC. Drachm (Silver, 16 mm, 3.89 g). Forepart of lion to right, gnawing on stag’s leg. Rev. Quadripartite incuse square. Dewing 451. HN III 1259. SNG ANS 1208-1210. SNG Delepierre 399. Williams Velia 16a (O10/R5 this coin). Lightly toned and attractive. Extremely fine.
From an American collection, ex Münzen und Medaillen 76, 19 September 1991, 665, Schweizerische Kreditanstalt Bern 5, 18 April 1986, 71, Bank Leu 36, 7 May 1985, 28 and Ratto, 9 October 1934, 35.
Velia was founded by Phokaians in circa 540. Their earliest coins were unlike anything found in contemporary Magna Graecia; rather, they harked back to the issues of Asia Minor: thus, these Velian pieces look very much like hektes struck in the mother city. The early drachms were issued in considerable numbers but many are off-struck with the lion’s mouth or entire head off the flan; this piece is a pleasing exception to that rule.
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