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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ SicilyView Options:  |  |  |     

Ancient Greek Coins of Sicily

The coins of Ancient Greek Sicily are considered among the finest numismatic works of art ever produced. Superb examples may cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Forum's selections include some more affordable examples.


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Anchialus, Thrace

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When the Odrysian kingdom was abolished in 45 A.D., Anchialos (Pomorie, Bulgaria today) became part of the Roman province of Thrace. It was formally proclaimed a city under Trajan. Anchialos thrived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries serving as the most important import and export station of Thrace and acquired the appearance of a Roman city under the Severan Dynasty.
RP68711. Bronze 4 assaria, Varbanov 464 (R5), AMNG II 555, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, aVF, glossy green patina, weight 14.534 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 45o, Anchialus (Pomorie, Bulgaria) mint, 209 - 212 A.D.; obverse AY K Π CEΠ ΓETAC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse OYΛΠIANΩN AΓ−X−IAΛEΩN, Demeter standing left, reaching with right toward serpent coiled around large torch before her, small torch cradled in her left, two small pellets over ∆ in center field; rare; $240.00 (€213.60)


Ziz (Panormus), Punic Sicily, c. 336 - 330 B.C.

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Founded by the Phoenicians as Ziz, Palermo was named Panormus, meaning "always fit for landing in," by the Greeks. It was ruled by Rome and Constantinople for over 1000 years. From 827 to 1071 it was under the Arab Emirate of Sicily when it first became a capital. After the Norman conquest, Palermo became capital of Kingdom of Sicily from 1130 to 1816. It was united with the Kingdom of Naples until the Italian unification of 1860.
GI70586. Bronze AE 15, Calciati I, p. 272, 12 (Ziz); Lindgren II 503; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München -; BMC Sicily -; HGC 2 -, Choice VF, weight 2.728 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 270o, Ziz (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 336 - 330 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left, linear border; reverse forepart of a horse prancing right, dolphin leaping right below; rare; $225.00 (€200.25)


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GI73157. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins 185; Calciati III p. 51, 10; SNG München 408; SNG Cop 167; SNG ANS 1222; BMC Sicily p. 39, 34; HGC 2 546, gVF, green patina, light corrosion, weight 3.457 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 180o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse gorgoneion with wild locks, hairband indicated, s-shaped eyebrows, bow-shaped upper lip; reverse KAMA (upward on left), owl standing right on right leg, head facing, lizard in left claw, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; $225.00 (€200.25)


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GB73539. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins 194.5; Calciati III p. 51, 20/2; SNG ANS 1226; SNG Cop 168; HGC 2 547 (S); BMC Sicily -, gVF, nice green patina, weight 2.624 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse gorgoneion with radiating locks, fierce expression, knitted eyebrows, no hairband, chubby cheeks; reverse KAMA (downward on right), owl standing left on left leg, head facing, lizard in right claw, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; scarce; $225.00 (€200.25)


Aitna, Sicily, The Kampanoi Mercenaries, c. 392 - 358 B.C.

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In 475 B.C. Hieron moved ten thousand settlers from Syracuse and Peloponnesus to Katane and renamed it Aetna. In 461, after Hieron's death, the new settlers were expelled. They moved to the southern slope of the volcano and founded a new Aetna. In 403 B.C., Dionysius the Elder made himself master of Aetna, where he settled his discharged Campanian mercenaries, the Kampanoi. The Kampanoi retained possession of Aitna until 339 B.C., when Timoleon took the city and put them to the sword. Under Rome, Aitna became a municipal town of considerable importance; its territory being one of the most fertile of all Sicily. The site of the city and time of its destruction are unknown today.
GI76936. Bronze AE 14, Calciati III, p. 327, 2 (Mercenaries at Aitna); HGC 2 1608 (R1, mercenaries at Tauromenion); SNG Morcom 877, VF, green patina, weight 2.744 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 60o, Aitna or Tauromenion mint, c. 344 - 339 B.C.; obverse Phrygian helmet with cheek guards, ornamented with a griffin, linear border; reverse KAM (Kampanoi?), AIT (Aitna?), or TA (Tauromenion?) monogram in laurel wreath; $220.00 (€195.80)


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 3rd Democracy, 344 - 336 B.C.

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Timoleon installed a democracy in 345 B.C. After the long series of internal struggles had weakened Syracuse's power, Timoleon tried to remedy this, defeating the Carthaginians near the Krimisos river in 339 B.C. Unfortunately the struggle among the city's parties restarted after his death and ended with the rise of another tyrant, Agathocles, who seized power in 317 B.C.
SH58244. Bronze dilitron, Calciati II p. 185, 80; SNG ANS 533 ff.; SNG Morcom 717; SNG München 1159; SNG Lloyd 1456; BMC Sicily p. 189, 311; HGC 2 1439 (S), VF, nice green patina, weight 18.748 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION, free horse prancing left; $200.00 (€178.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon and the 3rd Democracy, 344 - 317 B.C.

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Timoleon installed a democracy in 345 B.C. After the long series of internal struggles had weakened Syracuse's power, Timoleon tried to remedy this, defeating the Carthaginians near the Krimisos river in 339 B.C. Unfortunately the struggle among the city's parties restarted after his death and ended with the rise of another tyrant, Agathocles, who seized power in 317 B.C.
GB63873. Bronze dilitron, Calciati II p. 185, 80; SNG ANS 533 ff.; SNG Morcom 717; SNG München 1159; SNG Lloyd 1456; BMC Sicily p. 189, 311; HGC 2 1439 (S), VF, weight 17.807 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 339 - 334 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION, free horse prancing left; $200.00 (€178.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GB90187. Bronze AE 28, Calciati II p. 381, 195; SNG ANS 924; SNG Cop 839; SNG Morcom 822; HGC 2, 1548; BMC Sicily p. 217, 588, VF, weight 16.838 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 230 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Hieron left, beardless, uncertain control symbol behind; reverse IEPΩNOΣ, horseman prancing right, holding couched spear, N lower right; $200.00 (€178.00)


Solus (Kefra), Sicily, c. 395 - 350 B.C.

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Solus (or Soluntum, near modern Solanto), one of the three chief Punic settlements on Sicily, was on the north coast about 16 km east of Panormus (modern Palermo). It lay 183 meters above sea level, on Monte Catalfano, in a naturally strong situation, and commanding a fine view. The date of its founding is unknown. Solus was one of the few colonies the Phoenicians held when they withdrew before the Greeks to the northwest corner of the island. Together with Panormus and Motya, it allied with Carthage. Dionysius took the city in 396 B.C., but it soon broke away again to Carthage. In 307 B.C. it was given to the soldiers and mercenaries of Agathocles, who had made peace with Carthage after he abandoned them in Africa. In the First Punic War, Solus opened its gates to Rome only after Panormus fell. Under Rome it was a municipal town of no great importance, scarcely mentioned by Cicero. It was noticed by Pliny and Ptolemy, and later. Its destruction probably dates from the time of the Saracens.Solus
GI76344. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 310, 5; Jenkins Punic I pl. 23, 20; SNG ANS 740 ff.; SNG München 909; SNG Morcom 672; HGC 2 1254; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; Laffaille -, gF, green patina, weight 2.235 g, maximum diameter 13.1 mm, Kefra (near Solanto, Sicily, Italy) mint, Carthaginian occupation, c. 395 - 350 B.C.; obverse head of Athena facing slightly right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverse Punic inscription: KFRA, nude archer kneeling right, wearing pileus, shooting arrow; scarce; $200.00 (€178.00)


Tauromenion, Sicily, c. 210 - 201 B.C.

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In 212 B.C., the Roman General Marcus Claudius Marcellus conquered the fortified city of Syracuse. Archimedes, the famous inventor was killed during the attack. This coin type was struck after Tauromenium submitted peacefully to Marcellus. Many examples of the type are overstruck on earlier coins of Syracuse. In 208, Marcellus died in an ambush by a Carthaginian force of Numidian horsemen.
GI76997. Bronze AE 24, SNG ANS 1152 (also overstruck), SNG Cop 941 (same), Calciati III, p. 223, 29 ff., aVF, overstruck, strong undertype effects, nice green patina, well centered, weight 7.246 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, Tauromenion (Taormina, Sicily) mint, c. 210 - 201 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left, small owl behind, dot border; reverse TAYPOMENTIAN, Pegasus left, hind legs on short exergue line, linear border; rare; $200.00 (€178.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GI77003. Bronze tetras, BMC Sicily p. 218, 608; Calciati II p. 395, 197 (ΛY right not listed); SNG Cop 852; SNG München 1403; SNG ANS 964 ff.; HGC 2 1550 (S), gVF, nice Poseidon, reverse about 1/5 off center, very light corrosion and encrustation, light bumps and marks, weight 5.556 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 268 - 218 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon left; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphin downward flanking on each side, IEPΩ−NOΣ horizontal across field divided by shaft, ΛY lower right; $200.00 (€178.00)


Katane, Sicily, c. 461 - 413 B.C., Dies Engraved by Euanotos

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Catania, on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, has had a long and eventful history, having been founded in the 8th century B.C. As observed by Strabo, the location of Catania at the foot of Mount Etna has been both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, violent outbursts of the volcano throughout history have destroyed large parts of the city, on the other hand the volcanic ashes yield fertile soil, especially suited for the growth of vines. (Strab. vi. p. 269)
GS77854. Silver drachm, Rizzo pl. 14, 7; SNG München 439; SNG ANS 1263; Franke-Hirmer 38; unsigned dies by the master engraver Euainetos, aF, rough, weight 3.738 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 410 B.C.; obverse Female charioteer, holding kentron and reins, driving galloping quadriga to right; above, Nike flying to left crowning charioteer with wreath held in outstretched arms; KATANAIΩN in exergue; reverse AMENANOΣ, youthful head of river-god Amenanos left, diadem in hair, small bull's horn above forehead; fish above shrimp before, second fish behind; very rare; $200.00 (€178.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, c. 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 - 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity. Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GI90439. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 352, 192 R1 19; BMC Sicily p. 219, 627; SNG ANS 586 (Agathokles); SNG München 1235 (Agathokles); SNG Cop 867 corr.; HGC 2 1469, gVF, well centered and struck, dark green patina, light corrosion, light cleaning scratches, weight 5.881 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 275 - 269 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Kore-Persephone left, wearing earrings and necklace, hair rolled and bound with barley wreath; reverse bull butting left, club over T (magistrate initial) above, IE (magistrate initials) in exergue; $195.00 (€173.55)


Menaion, Sicily, c. 204 - 190 B.C.

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Mineo, Sicily (ancient Menaion) is inland about 64 km southwest of Catania. It was a Sikel city, founded around 458 B.C. by King Douketios. In 396 B.C. it was captured by Dionysios I of Syracuse. Under Roman rule Cicero mentions Menaion among the "civitatis decumanae," cities that pay one tenth of their annual harvest to Rome. Today it has about 5,600 residents.
GB65650. Bronze hexas, Calciati III p. 189, 13; BMC Sicily p. 97, 4; SNG München 624; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Morcom -, VF, weight 1.645 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 45o, Menaion (Mineo, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 204 - 190 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Hermes right, wearing winged petasos; reverse MENAI/NΩN, kerykeion (caduceus), two pellets (mark of value) lower left; very rare; $190.00 (€169.10)


Syracuse, Sicily, Fifth Democracy, 214 - 212 B.C.

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Overcoming formidable resistance and the ingenious devices of Archimedes, the Roman General Marcus Claudius Marcellus took Syracuse in the summer of 212 B.C. Archimedes was killed during the attack. The plundered artworks taken back to Rome from Syracuse lit the initial spark of Greek influence on Roman culture.
GB70546. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 418, 209 Ds 71; BMC Sicily p. 225, 675; SNG ANS 1052; SNG München 1549; SNG Cop -; SGCV I -; HGC 2 -, VF, nice green patina, weight 1.763 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 214 - 212 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon right, crescent behind; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphin downward flanking on each side, ΣYP−AKO/ΣI−ΩN in two lines in lower field divided by shank; rare; $180.00 (€160.20)


Morgantina as Hispani, Sicily, c. Late 2nd - Early 1st Century B.C.

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In 214, during the Second Punic War, Morgantina switched its allegiance from Rome to Carthage. Morgantina remained autonomous until 211, when it became the last Sicilian town to be captured by the Romans. It was given as payment by Rome to a group of Spanish mercenaries, who issued coins with the inscription HISPANORVM.

Erim and Jaunzems note that all coins of this type were "struck from the same obverse die. There is probably no other instance in all of the ancient coinages of the survival of so many pieces from a single die...In spite of the number of specimens, however, not a single piece allows us to examine this die in a fresh state, for invariably either the coin is in poor condition or die breaks are evident -- usually both. Particularly noticeable is a flaw that extends across the figure's face and into the field at the level of the nose. It is visible to some extent on almost all specimens."
GB72288. Bronze AE 22, Erim-Jaunzems Group VI, 13.2 (O1/R2); SNG ANS 487; Buttrey Catalog 253, pl. 7, 16; Calciati III p. 341, 1/5; SNG Cop 1079; HGC Sicily 915, VF, obverse die break, weight 6.587 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Morgantina mint, late 2nd - early 1st century B.C.; obverse C SIC - LIVN (Roman magistrate), male head right; reverse HISPANORVM, cavalryman charging right, wearing helmet and chlamys, holding couched spear; rare; $180.00 (€160.20)


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysius I, 405 - 367 B.C.

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"The model for the head on the obverse is derived from the facing Arethusa by Kimon. Exemplars signed by the great master are known. This issue is usually attributed to Exakestidas with several exemplars signed E. However, stylistic evidence of many exemplars reveals such substantial differences the intervention of other engravers seems to be certain, while the discovery of traces of signature not completely legible but certainly not pointing to Exakestidas confirm the assumption." - Calciati p. 59
GB72316. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 59 ff., 29; SNG ANS 385; SNG Cop 679; SNG Morcom -, gVF, weight 1.969 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph facing slightly left, wearing necklace; reverse octopus; $180.00 (€160.20)


Kamarina, Sicily, 413 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GI73183. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins 198; Calciati III p. 61, 28; BMC Sicily p. 40; 39; SNG ANS 1230; SNG Lloyd 882; Weber 1258; HGC 2 548; SNG Cop -, gVF, green patina, light corrosion, weight 4.222 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 413 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with wing, dot border; reverse KAMA (retrograde upward on right), owl standing left on left leg, head facing, lizard in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; $180.00 (€160.20)


Himera, Sicily, c. 472-413 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were put to death by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.
GA76588. Silver obol, cf. SNG Cop 312; SNG München 355; SNG Lloyd 1027; BMC Sicily p. 81, 47; SNG ANS -; Klein -, VF, obverse off center, reverse legend weak, uneven toning, a little rough, weight 0.586 g, maximum diameter 10.6 mm, Himera mint, c. 472-413 B.C.; obverse bearded male (Kronos?) head right, wearing fillet (hair band); reverse HIMEPA (or similar), Corinthian helmet right, no crest, within shallow incuse; rare; $175.00 (€155.75)


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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Following Heron's death, democracy was restored in 466 B.C. Similar to at Athens, the polis was governed by a council and popular assembly with an executive consisting of elected generals or strategoi. Syracuse fought against Athens 427 - 424 B.C. and again 415 - 413 B.C.; ultimately Syracuse was victorious. With further reforms by Diocles, the democratic nature of Syracuse's political structure was further strengthened.
GS90331. Silver hemilitron, Boehringer 716 (V351/R717), HGC 2 1390 (R2), SNG Cop -, SNG ANS -, SNG München -, F, grainy, weight 0.347 g, maximum diameter 9.7 mm, Syracuse mint, c. 420 - 415 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa right, hair in saccos; reverse S-Y-R-A, ethnic clockwise within a wheel of four pokes; ex Numismatik Lanz; rare; $150.00 (€133.50)




    



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Saturday, August 27, 2016.
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