ELIS, Olympia. Struck 336 BC, 111th Olympiad. AR Stater (12.25 g). Laureate head of Zeus right / Eagle with closed wings standing right, holding the tail of a coiled serpent in its left talon; vertical thunderbolt before. Seltman 202 var. (-/ei, unlisted obverse die); Bank Leu 48 (10 May 1989), lot 200 (same dies). Atttarctively toned EF, incredibly high relief and gorgeous style.
Only two examples of this variety are known, this specimen and the one in Leu 48. This example is the finer of the two, the other being slightly lower grade and double struck on the reverse. It's interesting to note that the obverse die for this issue was evidently larger than the flan, as both known examples have heads that extend beyond the edge of the flan.
The ancient Olympics were held every 4 years in August or September. This coin struck in 336 BC, would have been issued just a month or two after the assasination of Philip II of Macedon and the arrival of Alexander the Great on the world stage. It is interesting to wonder what ramifications the events in Macedon had on the otherwise peaceful athletic competitions held in Olympia.
A truly gorgeous coin, one that is more than just an ordinary coin, one that is also a piece of art.
Ex Bank Leu 18 (5 May 1977), lot 152.