Auction Name: 2021 October 28 - 29 World & Ancient Coins Signature® Auction
Lot Number: 30001
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/3093-30001
SICILY. Syracuse. Time of Dionysius I (405-370 BC). AR decadrachm (34mm, 43.56 gm, 3h). NGC AU 4/5 - 4/5, Fine Style, flan flaw. Unsigned dies in the style of Euainetos, ca. 400 BC. Racing quadriga driven left by charioteer, reins in left hand, kentron in right; Nike flying right in field above to crown him, military arms, including aspis (shield), greaves, cuirass, and crested Attic helmet, all joined by horizontal spear, ΑΘΛΑ ("prizes") below all in exergue, dotted border / ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ (off flan), head of Arethusa left, hair wreathed in barley ears, wearing triple pendant earring and beaded necklace; four dolphins swimming around, eight-pointed star behind head; dotted border. Gallatin (R.XXIII / K.III). Struck from lovely, Fine Style high relief dies, attractive toning throughout.
Ex Classical Numismatic Group, Auction 40 (4 December 1996), lot 881
Widely considered the most beautiful coins ever struck, the immense silver decadrachms of Syracuse from the later fifth century BC represent the full flowering of classical Greek sculptural art. Syracuse, the foremost Greek city in Sicily, produced coins of exceptional beauty for nearly a century. At the height of style and expertise, in ca. 415 BC, the best engravers began to sign their coin dies. Chief among these master engravers were Kimon and Euainetos, whose large silver decadrachms seemed to capture the spirit of the artistic and intellectual revolution then sweeping the Greek world. The obverse of these pieces depicts a four-horse racing chariot, or quadriga, in full career to left while Nike, goddess of Victory, flies above to crown the driver with a laurel wreath. Below this scene is a set of Greek armor offered as a prize to the victorious charioteer. The reverse depicts the beautiful head of Arethusa, a nymph of a sacred spring, with dolphins frolicking around her. The decadrachm of Euainetos became a widely-copied archetype for Greek coinage, and the master engraver's head of Arethusa remains a paradigm of ideal, classical beauty today.