argument that the dekadrachms were struck during the period of Alexander’s campaigns in India. The degree of wear seen on the dekadrachms, when it is considered that the Babylon hoard was probably buried at the end of Alexander’s lifetime, suggest that they might have been issued before the final defeat of King Poros by Alexander. This coin is estimated at US$150,000.
Lot, 407, a fascinating and extremely rare stater from Knossos depicts an image of one of the most famous of all mythological creatures, the Minotaur, which had the head of a bull and the body of a man. The myth surrounding this beast dates from the period of the Minoan civilisation on Crete, long before the Greeks inhabited the island. The reasons for the destruction of the Minoan culture are not clear, but might have been the result of an earthquake or an invasion. When the Greeks discovered the complex remains of the palace of Knossos centuries later, the legend of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth were born. The Minotaur was said to have been imprisoned in the Labyrinth, designed by Daedalus for King Minos to hold it captive, and was fed with condemned criminals, maidens and young boys sent from Athens as tribute to the Cretan King. In the well-known mythical tale, the Minotaur was killed by Theseus, who had tied a ball of string to the entrance to the Labyrinth upon entering so that he would be able to find his way back. When he discovered the Minotaur deep within the Labyrinth, a fierce struggle ensued before Theseus killed the monster with his sword.
Although this coin appears from its style to be archaic in origin, with the Minotaur positioned in the familiar kneeling-running stance, it does in fact date from the classical period. This is usually attributed to the fact that Crete was more isolated than the city-states on the mainland and therefore developed more slowly. Crete also relied upon imported coins for the silver used to strike its coinage; the traces of the overstruck coin can be seen on the obverse of the above example. This lot is estimated at US$40,000.
The Prospero Collection will be sold as part of The New York Sale XXVII-XXVIII in the Vanderbilt Suite of the Waldorf Astoria hotel, New York, on the 4th January 2012. Bidders are strongly encouraged to attend his landmark auction where possible although the sale will be broadcast over the internet using the services of www.the-saleroom.com. A limited edition hard-back copy of the catalogue has been produced to mark this very special event and is available to pre-order through the Baldwin’s website.
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For more information visit www.baldwin.co.uk/prospero
For all enquires about The Prospero Collection or to request a copy of the collection catalogue please contact Paul Hill at email@example.com or on +44 (0)20 7930 6879.
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