Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    A Second Resplendent Decadrachm

    SICILY. Syracuse. Time of Dionysius I (405-367 BC). AR decadrachm (31mm, 43.47 gm, 8h). NGC AU 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Struck ca. 400-370 BC. Unsigned dies by the "shell engraver" in the style of Euainetos. Charioteer, in flowing chiton and holding goad and reins, driving racing quadriga left; above, Nike flying right, about to crown charioteer with wreath; in exergue, panoply of arms: cuirass between two greaves, with Phrygian helmet to right; all within a border of dots / Head of Arethusa left, wearing wreath of reeds, triple-pendant earring, and necklace; [ΣΥ-Ρ-Α-Κ-ΟΣΙΩΝ] above, scallop shell behind neck, four dolphins swimming around. Gallatin RXVII / FVIII. SNG ANS 372. Dewing 907-8. Obverse (chariot) die clean and free of the usual rust; reverse bearing a few nicks on Arethusa's cheek and minor dings on nose and lips. Otherwise a splendid decadrachm, deeply struck in remarkable high relief and boasting attractive iridescent toning of light orange hue.

    Under the brutal but capable Tyrant Dionysius I (406-367 BC), Syracuse became the wealthiest and most powerful city-state in the Greek world, and introduced the most extravagant coins yet seen, the stunning series of silver decadrachms. These huge, impressive coins were mainly struck to pay the Greek mercenaries who flooded Sicily to fight the expanding power of Carthage. The magnificent design of the master engraver Euainetos have become a paradigm for classical beauty in the 24 centuries since their creation. His Arethusa is the very ideal of feminine beauty, both human and divine, her hair interwoven with a wreath of grain ears symbolizing the agricultural bounty of Sicily. Likewise, the horses pulling his chariot seem to levitate above the ground line, perhaps preparing to draw the charioteer into the heavens themselves. As noted for the previous lot, some decadrachm dies carry the master engraver's signature, while others have a symbol (in this case, a scallop shell) in its place. It is not known for certain whether these dies were executed by Euainetos himself, or by other engravers under his supervision, closely copying his original design. His decadrachm design became a prototype copied on later coins of Syracuse (see the following lot), by the Carthaginian paymasters occupying parts of Sicily, and throughout the Greek world. 




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,277

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 11 days left to consign to the 2019 August 13 - 20 ANA World's Fair of Money US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago!

    Learn about consigning with us

    You will never be ripped off, scammed, or knowingly sold fakes on Heritage's ongoing online coin auctions, and sometimes the deals are amazing! You can do price research, grade comparisons, you name it (heck, I could almost write a whole article about the ways to use Heritage's Web site!).
    Susan Headley
    Coin Host/Journalist, About.com,
    New York, NY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 June 6 - 9 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2019 June 6 - 9 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED $8,361,305
    2019 April 25 - 29 Central States World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
    2019 April 25 - 29 Central States World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
    REALIZED $8,021,711
    2019 April 25 - 29 Central States World Currency Signature Auction - Chicago
    2019 April 25 - 29 Central States World Currency Signature Auction - Chicago
    REALIZED $1,965,334