Cattle of Geryon 1 oz Copper The 12 Labors of Hercules

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The obverse of the Cattle of Geryon 1 oz Copper Round features the six-armed, three-headed Geryon. Geryon carries two spears, two swords, and wears three helmets. The cattle of Geryon feature in the background with the inscriptions: “CATTLE OF GERYON” and “X”.

As legend has it, King Eurystheus sent Hercules to capture the Cattle of Geryon for his 10th labor. Traveling to the far west to Erytheia, Hercules encountered so much heat in the Libyan desert that he shot an arrow at the sun. Helios, the sun god, applauded his courage and gave Hercules a golden chariot to finish his expedition.

When he finally arrived to Erytheia, Hercules was attacked by a two-headed dog named Orthus and a local herdsman. All it took was one swift blow of Hercules’ wooden club to kill the two adversaries, but Geryon quickly took notice of the disturbance, and charged Hercules carrying three spears. The quick thinking Hercules shot one of his poisoned arrows with so much force that it pierced Geryon’s helmet and killed the giant.

The herd of cattle was rounded up and the trek back to Eurystheus began, but many challenges were to come. One night, a few of the cattle were stolen by a giant as Hercules slept. The remaining trudged forward only to have Hera sent a gladfly (an irritating insect) to bite and scatter the cattle. Hercules searched for nearly a year before capturing each of the cattle that had run away. Hera then flooded a river, but Hercules piled rocks at the bottom to keep the water shallow. He finally returned the Cattle of Geryon to Eurystheus, who sacrificed them to Hera.

The common reverse of the 12 Labors of Hercules series carries the left-facing profile of Hercules holding his wooden club. The weight and purity are inscribed around the rim.

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