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    Description

    Lustrous Himera Signed Tetradrachm

    SICILY. Himera. Ca. 409-407 BC. AR tetradrachm (25mm, 17.57 gm, 11h). NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style. Obverse die signed by the artist MAI. The nymph Himera driving galloping quadriga right; Nike flying left above, crowning her with wreath and holding plaque inscribed MAI; ketos left in exergue / HI-MEP-AION (retrograde), Himera standing facing, head left, holding phiale in right hand over altar to left; satyr standing facing in fountain with a lion-headed spout bathing behind her to right. Arnold-Biucchi 22 (Q8/H17). Gutmann & Schwabacher 20. SNG ANS -. SNG Lloyd 1022. Strong strike with incredible details in fine style on a beautiful flan with full mint bloom and radiant flow lines. Absolutely gleaming in hand.

    Founded circa 640 BC along the northern Sicilian coastline, Himera quickly grew in prominence and prosperity until, circa 490 BC, a tyrant named Terillus seized control of the city and expelled the ruling oligarchy with the help of Carthaginian forces. Seven years later, Terillus was himself deposed by Theron, who  ruled Acragas and Rhegium. Terillus asked his Carthaginian backers to restore him to power; the Carthaginian general Hamilcar, sensing an opportunity to control all of Sicily, arrived in 480 BC with a huge task force of 300,000 and placed Himera under siege. The threat forced Theron to make common cause with Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse, and their combined armies inflicted a massive defeat on the Carthaginians at the Battle of Himera, seen by many historians as rivaling Salamis in its importance in preserving Greek culture against eastern despotism. However, the Carthaginians never forgot the disaster and, in 408 BC, led a new attack that utterly destroyed the city. Himera was one of the first Sicilian cities to strike coins but it took several decades for it to arrive at a settled symbolism. This beautiful tetradrachm, struck toward the end of Himera's existence, reveals the hand of a superb artist who signed his obverse die MAI, in emulation of the great contemporary Syracusan engravers. Alas, the destruction of his home city also seems to have ended his career, as this is the last coin type to bear this signature.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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