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    Zeus Fine Style "Star" Masterpiece

    SICILY. Syracuse. Fifth Republic (Democracy) (214-212 BC). AR 16-litrai (26mm, 13.44 gm, 2h). NGC Choice AU★ 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Laureate head of Zeus left / ΣYPAKOΣΙΩΝ, Nike driving fast quadriga right, reins in both hands and kentron in right; ΞA below horses' forelegs. AMB 539 (these dies). Gulbenkian 358 (these dies). Kraay-Hirmer 145. Burnett, SNR 62, pl. 8, D3 (these dies, listed as unique). Extremely rare and among the finest specimens known.

    From the Penn Collection. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 13 (8 October 1998), lot 539

    When Hieron II died in 215 BC, he left his kingdom to his fifteen-year-old grandson, Hieronymus. Hieron designed a council of fifteen guardians to supervise Hieronymus and act as his regents, providing guidance until he was of age. One of the counselors, Adranodorus, was the son-in-law of Hieron and wanted to rule himself. He schemed to have the other guardians dismissed and became the chief counselor to Hieronymus. After the Roman defeat at Cannae, he convinced the young king to change Syracuse's allegiance from Rome to Carthage, bringing Syracuse in direct conflict with Rome. In 214 BC, Marcus Claudius Marcellus began besieging the city, during which Hieronymus was assassinated after a reign of only thirteen months. A republican government known as the Fifth Democracy was restored, but the city didn't change its Carthaginian allegiance. A protracted siege of two years ensued, with the Romans finally defeating the mechanical defenses of the great Archimedes in 212 BC. Despite the turmoil and chaos, the Syracuse mint produced incredible works of art, the dies engraved by masterful artists. The largest and rarest denomination for the period was this 16-litrai, with the obverse die having artistic parallels to the contemporary Brettian League issues, also allied with Carthage.

    Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000.

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