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    Lovely Leontini

    SICILY. Leontini. Ca. 430-425 BC. AR tetradrachm (27mm, 17.47 gm, 6h).  Laureate head of Apollo left / LEON-TI-NON, lion's head left, with open jaws and tongue protruding, bay-leaf behind, three barley-corns around. Boehringer, Leontinoi 55 (same dies). Rizzo pl. XXIV, 4 (same dies). SNG ANS 257 (same dies). Obverse die break at early state. Cleanly struck in sound metal from dies of lovely style. NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 5/5.

    From The California Collection. Ex ROMA Numismatics 6 (29 September 2013), lot 401. 

    One of the earliest Greek cities in Sicily, Leontini was founded near the southeastern coast of the island about 729 BC by a group of the same colonists from Chalcis who had settled at Naxos about five years earlier. Unlike nearly every other Sicilian Greek city, Leontini did not have a port and was located about six miles inland, on a fortified hilltop overlooking a fertile plain. It evidently possessed a shrine to Apollo, who was prominent on the city's coinage; likewise the lion, a canting pun on the Leontini's name. The silver tetradrachms of Leontini show a notable progress of artistic styles throughout the fifth century, beginning with archaic depictions of a walking quadriga similar to issues of Sicily, to a highly stylized Apollo head of a "mannerist" style, to the final evolution seen with this beautiful issue of circa 430-435 BC, depicting Apollo in a highly refined and naturalistic form. Leontini's reliance on agriculture instead of sea trade is reflected on the barley corns surrounding the central lion on the reverse.


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