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    Description

    Magnificent Kore Tetradrachm

    SICILY. Syracuse. Agathocles (317-289 BC). AR tetradrachm (26mm, 17.01 gm, 12h). Struck ca. 310/08-306/5 BC. ΚΟΡΑΣ, wreathed head of Kore ("maiden") right, wearing single-pendant earring and necklace / [ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕΙΣ], Nike standing right, half draped, erecting trophy of helmet, cuirass and shield on post; to left, triskeles; between Nike an trophy, AIK monogram. Ierardi 98 (O20/R59). Gulbenkian 334 (same rev. die). Kraay-Hirmer 137 (same reverse die). Sharply struck from dies of particularly charming style. Exceptional metal quality, with considerable original luster. NGC Choice AU? 5/5 - 5/5. Fine Style.

    From the Northern California Collection.

    This beautiful tetradrachm falls into the first series of coins struck in the name of Agathocles, who ruled Syracuse as a military strongman or "tyrant" and later styled himself "King of Sicily." In many ways he 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. War with Carthage followed; with Syracuse under siege, he staged a daring attack on the African hinterlands of Carthage that turned the tide of war in his favor. Though ultimately defeated in Africa, Agathocles returned to Sicily strengthened and was able to conclude a treaty with Carthage on favorable terms. The Kore tetradrachms were struck following an impressive victory over Carthaginian forces outside the gates of Sicily in 310 BC. The reverse, depicting Nike erecting a trophy, proved highly influential and was widely copied by other Greek kingdoms and the Romans for centuries to come. The coins are found in two main varieties based on the engraving style, termed "Sicilian" and "African," although both were probably struck in Syracuse. This piece is an exemplar of the finest Sicilian style, with a lovely head of Kore and a lush figure of Nike, clearly the work of a master engraver.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
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