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Interesting Coinage Relating to the Fabled Golden Fleece

​As the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) draws to a close the Internet-only session of our official auction is still to come and offers numismatic treasures for everyone.  For students of Greek mythology one piece stands out: Lot 5077 – a Colchis Light Stater. This coin is related to some of the greatest heroes ever written about, including Heracles, Eurytus, Theseus, and Orpheus and also has ties to one of the most iconic relics of the time — the Golden Fleece!

The epic story of Jason and the Argonauts is filled with adventure, loss, betrayal, murder, sorcery and revenge.  Pelias, who imprisoned his half-brother Aeson and seized his throne, became King of Lolcus in Thessaly.  He began killing every descendant of Aeolus he could, but spared Aeson, father of Jason.   After Jason’s birth, his death was faked and he was smuggled out of the city to be raised by the centaur Chiron, the trainer of heroes. When Jason was old enough he returned home to claim the throne as the rightful king of Lolcus.  Pelias swore before Zeus that he would give up the throne upon Jason’s return home with the Golden Fleece from Colchis.  Of course Jason accepted this task and assembled a truly impressive band of heroes for this perilous journey.  

The quest for the Golden Fleece supposedly took place around 1300 B.C. in the years before the Trojan War.  However, this light stater is from much later, between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., and is also from a remote geographic location. This explains the degradation of design in imitation of Alexander III (336-323 B.C.) or Lysimachos (323-281 B.C.).  This interesting coinage series would benefit much from further research and study.

Be sure to visit our website stacksbowers.com to check out this and other interesting numismatic items in the online session.  We now are accepting consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our May 2017 Collector’s Choice Online Auction and August 2017 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our April 2017 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. 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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