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    Description

    Remarkable Man-Headed Bull

    SICILY. Catana. Ca. 461-450 BC. AR tetradrachm (29mm, 17.17 gm, 3h). The river god Amenanos as a bearded, man-headed bull kneeling to right on ground line, floral scroll design in exergue / KATANAION, Nike, wearing long pleated peplos, advancing left, holding taenia in her outstretched right hand, wreath in left; H in left field. SNG ANS 1236 (same dies). Randazzo pl. 4, 74-6 (same dies). A rare and remarkable piece, struck on an immense flan in high-quality metal. A couple of edge splits, otherwise a true masterpiece! NGC Choice AU? 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style, overstruck.

    The city of Catana was founded on the east coast of Sicily, at the foot of volcanic Mount Aetna, in the mid-8th century BC by Greek colonists from the nearby city of Naxos. Little is known of its earlier history, but in 476 BC Catana was conquered by the tyrant Hieron I of Syracuse, who ejected the inhabitants and replaced them with Syracusans and new settlers from the Peloponnese. Hieron renamed the city Aetna, but in 461 BC, the new occupants were in turn ejected and the original inhabitants resumed their former home, reinstated the old name, and inaugurated a remarkable series of coins that included some of the most striking and evocative types ever produced in Sicily. This exceedingly rare early Classical type depicts the river god Amenanos in the form of a man-faced bull, pawing at the ground and apparently about to charge. The reverse image depicts a vigorous Nike striding to left, her diaphanous peplos flowing over her athletic form. The mastery of numismatic art would continue until the city's second fall to Syracuse in 404 BC.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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