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    Description

    Early Deinomenid Tetradrachm

    SICILY. Syracuse. Deinomenid Tyranny (ca. 485-466 BC). AR tetradrachm (26mm, 17.11 gm, 9h).  Time of Gelon I, 485-480 BC. Walking quadriga driven by charioteer right; above, Nike flying right to crown horses / ΣY-RΑΚ-ΟΣ-ΙΩΝ, pearl-diademed head of Arethusa right, wearing beaded necklace; hair gathered in short tail; all surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise. Boehringer 62 (V32/R41). SNG ANS 15. Well centered, deeply struck and attractively toned. NGC AU? 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style.

    From The California Collection. Ex Heritage 3020 (Long Beach, 6 September 2012), lot 24864; Goldberg 53 (24 November 2009), lot 1581.

    Originally settled by Corinthian colonists in circa 730 BC, Syracuse grew rapidly to dominate all Sicily and become one of the foremost cities in the Greek world. Its coinage commenced in the late sixth century BC with Attic-weight silver tetradrachms depicting a walking quadriga, and a reverse design featuring a swastika-shaped incuse punch that soon featured a small female head within a central circle. By circa 590 BC the incuse punch had disappeared and the female head, now much larger and clearly a representation of the spring nymph Arethusa, was surrounded by dolphins, likely an allegorical reference to Sicily itself. The earliest numismatic depictions of the nymph Arethusa display fully Archaic conventions, including a frontal eye, a rather stern countenance, and hair shown in parallel waves, the back pulled up and passed through a pearl hair band, emerging as a "splash" at the back of the head. This attractive die, created circa 480 BC, gives Arethusa a softer, more contoured appearance that was clearly the work of an artist of great skill and sensitivity. 


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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