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    SICILY. Siculo-Punic. Entella. Ca. 345-315 BC. AR tetradrachm (25mm, 17.16 gm, 3h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5. Head of Arethusa/Persephone right, wearing barley ear wreath, triple pendant earring, and necklace; poppy behind, two confronted dolphins before / Horse standing right before palm tree, right foreleg raised. Jenkins 101 (O35/R92). SNG Lockett 1043 (same obverse die). HGC 2, 275. Struck from dies of gorgeous style. Beautiful, light iridescent toning.

    From a Private Japanese Collection. Ex Heritage Auction 3033 (ANA, 8 August 2014), lot 23010; Hess-Divo 325 (23 October 2013), lot 174; UBS AG 76 (Zurich, 22 January 2008), lot 1237.

    The location of the main Carthaginian mint in Sicily identified by Punic inscription as "The Camp" has long been a matter of conjecture and dispute. Recent research, adopted by Oliver Hoover in his Handbook of Coins of Sicily (CNG 2012), suggests the "Camp" mint to have been Entella, a fortress-like city located in central-west Sicily. Founded by the Trojans in the 500s BC, Entella was conquered by a group of Campanian mercenaries in about 410 BC who quickly sold their services to the Carthaginians (alternatively, the Campanians might have been employed by Carthage before they took the city). The city remained a Punic stronghold through most of the fourth century, although the Syracusan tyrant Timoleon briefly drove them out circa 342 BC (a peace treaty dividing Sicily into Greek and Carthaginian spheres of interest in 338 BC returned Entella to Punic control). The Siculo-Punic coinage of Entella seems to have been intended mainly to pay mercenary soldiers who were used to being paid in Greek coin, as the silver tetradrachms adhere closely to the Attic weight standard. Designs were usually based on the ubiquitous issues of Syracuse (obverse), but with reverses displaying their Carthaginian allegiance (the palm tree, phonix in Greek, is likely a canting pun on the term Phoenician). Horses also feature prominently, likely referring to the outstanding cavalry of the Carthaginians and their Campanian allies.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    12th-13th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
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