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    Description

    Lovely Syracuse Decadrachm by Kimon

    SICILY. Syracuse. Time of Dionysius I (406-367 BC). AR decadrachm (38mm, 40.97 gm, 12h). NGC (photo-certificate) Choice XF 4/5 - 3/5, Fine Style, edge flaw. Unsigned dies by Kimon, ca. 405-400 BC. Charioteer driving racing quadriga left in three-quarter view, third horse with head lowered; the charioteer holds reins in left hand and kentron in right; Nike flying right above to crown charioteer with laurel wreath; in exergue, military arms, including aspis (shield), greaves, cuirass, and crested Phrygian helmet, all joined by horizontal spear, ΑΘΛΑ ("prizes") below / ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ, head of Arethusa left, wearing pendant earring and pearl necklace, curly hair confined by ampyx and net sphendone, four dolphins around. SNG ANS 358. Jongkees 9d. Pozzi 1270. Well-centered and sharply struck from dies of exceptional style. Some flan porosity. Magnificent deep cabinet toning.

    Ex Maison Palombo Auction 12 (6 December 2013), lot 10; Leu Auction 22 (1979), lot 35.

    Syracuse had been striking its own coins for about a century when, circa 405 BC, came the stunning series of silver decadrachms by Kimon and Euainetos. These huge, impressive coins were struck in considerable numbers, probably to pay the Greek mercenary soldiers who flooded Sicily to fight the expanding power of Carthage. They stand at the pinnacle of Greek numismatic achievement and served as a paradigm for Hellenistic art in the ages to follow. Kimon's decadrachm design, as exemplified by this impressive piece, features a highly individualized and "ethnic" looking head of Arethusa, clearly modeled on a real-life Greco-Sicilian woman. Her hair is bound in an elaborate jeweled net and a wide hairband, or ampyx. On the obverse, Kimon's four-horse chariot races to the left at breakneck speed while the goddess Nike flies serenely above, reaching out with a laurel wreath to crown the victorious charioteer. Below this scene, in the exergue beneath the ground line, are arrayed the prize trophies - a military cuirass, greaves and a helmet, labeled ΑΘΛΑ ("athla" or prizes, from which the term athlete derives).


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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