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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.

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, 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; nice green patina; $225.00 (€195.75)

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; $225.00 (€195.75)

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 Arethusa right, hair in saccos; reverse S-Y-R-A, ethnic clockwise within a wheel of four pokes; ex Numismatik Lanz; rare; $225.00 (€195.75)

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; $220.00 (€191.40)

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

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Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
GB73158. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 89, 45; SNG ANS 435; SNG Cop 721; BMC Sicily p. 187, 289; HGC 2 1456, VF, weight 7.096 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, 405 - 367 B.C.; obverse ΣYPA, head of Athena left wearing olive wreathed Corinthian helmet; reverse hippocamp left with bridles; $220.00 (€191.40)

Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon and the Third Democracy, c. 344 - 317 B.C.

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The goddess on the obverse has been identified by different authorities as Aphrodite, Arethusa and Persephone.
SH63881. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 184, 79; SNG ANS 530 - 532, VF, weight 5.254 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 344 - 317 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of goddess (Aphrodite?) left, hair bound with fillet and tied in knot at back of head, wearing triple pendant earring and necklace; reverse forepart of Pegasos with curved wings left, Σ below; $200.00 (€174.00)

Katane, Sicily, c. 415 - 403 B.C.

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Katane was captured by Dionysios of Syracuse in 403 B.C., who sold the population into slavery and resettled the city with Campanian mercenaries. The city submitted to Rome during the First Punic war.
GB71042. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 91, 1; SNG ANS 1272; BMC Sicily p. 50, 51; SNG Cop -, SNG München -, VF, beautiful lime green patina, some pitting, edge crack, weight 1.716 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 225o, Katane mint, c. 415 - 403 B.C.; obverse AMENANOΣ, young head of river-god Amenanos left, with horns and wavy hair; reverse winged thunderbolt, wings open, K-A flanking under wings, three small pellets around (two above wings, one right); rare; $200.00 (€174.00)

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; $200.00 (€174.00)

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; $200.00 (€174.00)

Akragas, Sicily, c. 425 - 406 B.C.

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Located on a plateau overlooking Sicily's southern coast, Akragas was founded c. 582 B.C. by colonists from Gela. It grew rapidly, becoming second only to Syracuse in importance on Sicily, but was sacked by Carthage in 406 B.C. and never fully recovered. It was renamed Agrigentum after it fell to Rome in 210 B.C.
SH56732. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 172, 6; SNG ANS 1029; SNG München -; SNG Cop -, aF, weight 13.624 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 90o, Akragas mint, c. 425 - 406 B.C.; obverse AKPA, eagle left, wings open, head lowered, clutching dead hare in talons; reverse crab, crayfish left below, three pellets flanking claws on each side (six total), all within a shallow round incuse; $180.00 (€156.60)

Segesta, Sicily, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Segesta, in the northwestern Sicily, was one of the major cities of the Elymians, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicily. Ionian Greeks settled in the city and the Elymians were quickly Hellenized. Segesta was in eternal conflict with Selinus. The first clashes were in 580 - 576 B.C., and again in 454 B.C. In 415 B.C. Segesta asked Athens for help against Selinus, leading to a disastrous Athenian expedition in Sicily. Later they asked Carthage for help. After Carthage destroyed Selinus, Segesta remained a loyal ally. It was besieged by Dionysius of Syracuse in 397 B.C., and destroyed by Agathocles in 307 B.C., but recovered. In 276 B.C. the city allied with Pyrrhus, but changed sides and surrendered to the Romans in 260 B.C. Due to the mythical common origin of the Romans and the Elymians (both descendants of refugees from Troy), Rome designated Segesta a "free and immune" city. In 104 B.C., the slave rebellion led by Athenion started in Segesta. Little is known about the city under Roman rule. It was destroyed by the Vandals.
GB65636. Bronze AE 16, Calciati I p. 303, 53; BMC Sicily p. 137, 63; SNG Cop 590; SNG ANS -, Fair, weight 3.283 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Segesta mint, Roman rule, c. 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse diademed head of Segesta right; reverse horseman standing left beside his horse, spear diagonal behind; very rare; $180.00 (€156.60)

Agyrion, Sicily, c. 344 - 336 B.C.

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Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sicel city ruled by tyrants, one of whom, Agyris, was the most powerful ruler in the center of Sicily. In 392 B.C., he and Dionysius the Elder, together successfully resisted the Carthaginians under Magno. Agira was not colonized by the Greeks until the Corinthian general Timoleon drove out the last Sicel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.
GB63889. Bronze AE 14, Calciati III p. 125, 10; SNG ANS -; SNG Morcom -, VF, nice patina, weight 4.086 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 180o, Agyrion mint, c. 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse AΓYPINAI, forepart of a man-faced bull left, legend horizontal above; rare; $175.00 (€152.25)

Leontini, Sicily, c. 207 - 200 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.

When the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus stormed the city in 214 B.C., Leontini was subject to Syracuse and the rulers of Syracuse actually resided there. Marcellus had 2000 Roman deserters who were hiding in the city killed, and then moved to lay siege to Syracuse itself.
GB65520. Bronze AE 16, Calciati p. 81, 9; SNG ANS 274; BMC Sicily p. 93, 66; SNG Cop 366, VF, weight 4.170 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Leontini mint, c. 207 - 200 B.C.; obverse veiled head of Demeter left, plow behind; reverse ΛEON, bundle of grain; $175.00 (€152.25)

Himera, Sicily, c. 420 - 409 B.C.

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Himera (Termini), on the north coast of Sicily, was an ancient Chalcidic colony from Zancle, founded in the middle of the seventh century B.C.
GB69175. Bronze hemilitron, SNG Cop 320; Calciati I p. 43, 35; SGCV I 1110; SNG ANS 186, gVF, weight 4.308 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 45o, Himera mint, c. 420 - 409 B.C.; obverse IME, head of nymph Himera left, wearing sphendone, six pellets before; reverse six pellets within laurel wreath; $170.00 (€147.90)

Arpi, Apulia, Italy, 215 - 212 B.C., Struck Under Hannibal

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Arpi remained faithful to Rome until Rome's defeat at the battle of Cannae and then defected to Hannibal. Rome captured Arpi in 213 or 212 B.C. and it never recovered its former importance. No Roman inscriptions have been found there, and remains of antiquity are scanty.
GB73614. Bronze AE 20, HN Italy 650; SNG ANS 646; SNG Cop 613; BMC Italy p. 131, 12, F, weight 3.792 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 270o, Arpi mint, 215 - 212 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverse APΠANOY, bunch of grapes; rare; $170.00 (€147.90)

Carthage, Zeugitana, North Africa, Late 4th - Early 3rd Century B.C.

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Overstruck on an earlier Siculo-Punic bronze, with head of Tanit / horse with palm behind. The male image lacks signs of a deity and may be one of the leaders of the Punic forces.
GB65846. Bronze AE 17, SNG Cop 121 (also overstruck on type SNG Cop 109 - 119), VF, overstruck, weight 2.576 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 315o, West Sicilian mint, late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.; obverse youthful male head left between two stalks of grain; undertype: head of Tanit left; reverse horse galloping to right; undertype: horse standing right, palm tree behind in background; rare; $160.00 (€139.20)

Leontini, Sicily, c. 476 - 455 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.
GS65783. Silver hemilitra, SNG München 548; Boehringer Leontini B; cf. HGC 2 688 (R2, obol); SNG ANS 216 (obol, finer style); BMC Sicily p. 88, 22 (same); SNG Cop 342 (same), F, toned, porous, crude style (perhaps a barbaric imitative), weight 0.297 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 225o, Leontini (or unofficial?) mint, c. 476 - 466 B.C.; obverse crude facing lion scalp, dot border; reverse LE/ON (retrograde), barley grain, within shallow round incuse; from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; very rare; $160.00 (€139.20)

Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 410 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.
BB67649. Bronze onkia, Westermark-Jenkins 196; Calciati vol III, p. 57, 22; HGC 2 553 (R1), VF, green patina, weight 1.382 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 90o, Kamarina mint, 420 - 410 B.C.; obverse gorgoneion, protruding tongue, smooth neat hair tied with ribbon, symmetrical locks on forehead; reverse KAMA, owl standing left, head facing, lizard in right talon, one pellet in exergue; $160.00 (€139.20)

Syracuse, Sicily, Roman Rule, 212 - c. 189 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.
GB69016. Bronze AE 22, Calciati II p. 424, 227; SNG ANS 1066 ff.; SNG Cop 900; SNG München 1472 ff.; HGC 2 1474 (S), gVF, nice green patina, unusual style, weight 7.757 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, 212 - c. 189 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus left; reverse Nike in galloping in a biga right, whip(?) in right, reins in left, crescent above, ΣYPAKOΣIΩN in exergue; scarce; $160.00 (€139.20)

Messana, Sicily, 411 - 408 B.C.

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Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina was originally called Zancle, from the Greek meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its natural harbor (though a legend attributes the name to King Zanclus). In the early 5th century BC, Anaxilas of Rhegium renamed it Messene in honor of the Greek city Messene.
GB66780. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 51, 9mv4/1; BMC Sicily p. 107, 71; cf. SNG ANS 390 (controls obscure), VF, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, obverse ΠEΛΩPIAΣ, head of nymph Peloria left, hair in ampyx and sphendone, dolphin behind neck; reverse MEΣΣANIΩN, trident, A P between prongs, scallop shell left, hare downward on right; rare; $155.00 (€134.85)



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Catalog current as of Saturday, September 05, 2015.
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Sicilian Greek Coins