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    Handsome Agathocles Tetradrachm

    SICILY. Syracuse. Agathocles (317-289 BC). AR tetradrachm (26mm, 16.83 gm, 4h). NGC AU 5/5 - 3/5. Pre-royal coinage, struck ca. 310-305 BC. Head of Persephone left, wreathed in grain ears, three dolphins around, NK below neck truncation / Charioteer driving racing quadriga left, holding kentron and reins, triskeles above, ΣYPΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ over AI monogram in exergue. Ierardi 46 (O8/R27). HGC 2, 1348. SNG ANS 638. Well centered and crisply struck from dies of lovely style on a broad, slightly oval flan with entire chariot, charioteer, triskeles and legends all present and accounted for.

    From the Northern California Collection. Ex James Fox Collection (CNG/NAC 40, 4 December 1996), lot 901.

    Agathocles, who ruled Syracuse as a military strongman or "tyrant" and later styled himself "King of Sicily," was a western counterpart to the Hellenistic rulers who carved up Alexander the Great's vast empire to the east. The son of a simple potter, he joined the army and rose through the ranks to become a strategos, or general. Ambitious, audacious and unscrupulous, he was banished for attempting to overthrow the democratic government of Syracuse, but returned in 317 BC leading an army of mercenaries, seized the city, and banished or murdered all of his opponents. His early coinage as Tyrant closely follows the decadrachm design of Euainetos struck nearly a century before.


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