Parisii. Gold stater, ca. 100-50 BC. Class 2. Obv. Stylized head of Apollo right. Rev. Stylized horse galloping left, ornate wing above, rosette below. BN 7782; Blanchet 343; CdB p. 8-9, 1-6 (class 2). Gold. 7.32 g. Very rare.
Chaponnière & Firmenich SA Auction 8 4 (« | ») 05.07.2017
Estimate: 50’000 CHF
Hammer: 55’000 CHF
“Due to the modernity of their style, the gold staters of the Parisii are among the most valuable and sought-after coins of Celtic Gaul. The exceptional profile portrait featured on the obverse of this rare Class 2 specimen offers surprising parallels with certain Cubist or Surrealist portraits. This is not surprising when we know that artists such as André Breton collected them for these reasons. They are, according to him and André Malraux, rare testimonies of an early Western art, an original culture anterior to the arrival in Gaul, of the Greco-Latin traditions brought from Rome, and then imposed by Caesar.
“The Parisii derived their important resources from the control of the middle region of the Seine River. Gold was abundant because the river was one of the main trading routes to Cornwall, where tin was extracted and then exported all over Europe, to produce bronze of high quality. Legend has it that the Parisii had taken as their capital, the “Ile de la Cité”, in the heart of Paris, and named it Lutetia. The archaeological reality seems less romantic: it was actually Nanterre, the present traffic filled sub-urban zone, where they seem to have settled… This tribe particularly distinguished themselves for their resistance against the Roman invader, and would furnish nearly eight thousand men to the Celtic coalition led by Vercingetorix. The territory of the Parisii would be the last battlefield of the belligerents, and where the Gallic War ended. Less rare than the Class 1, this Class 2 type appears very rarely on the market.”