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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ DolphinView Options:  |  |  |   

Dolphins on Ancient Coins

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

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reins in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $2040.00 (€1795.20)
 


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.
SH89722. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XX, 698 (V344/R476); SNG ANS 233 (same dies); BMC Sicily p. 161, 115 (same); Weber 1592 (same); HGC 2 1322 (S), VF, elegant nymph well centered on a tight flan, obverse strike weak and crowded by tight flan, weight 16.854 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 425 - 420 B.C.; obverse male charioteer driving a walking quadriga to right, wearing a long chiton, goad in his right hand, reins in both hands, Nike above flying left to crown the charioteer; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION upward on right, Head of Arethusa right, her hair in a sakkos and an ampyx, bound with olive-wreath and a double decorated fillet, wearing earring and a necklace with a lion's head, four dolphins swimming around; scarce; $1400.00 (€1232.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysios I, c. 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.
GS86597. Silver hemilitron, SNG ANS 301; SNG Cop 669; SNG Lloyd 1379; BMC Sicily p. 182, 237; Boehringer Münzprägungen pl. II, 19; HGC 2 1392 (R2) , VF, dark toning, light marks and corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.434 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 395 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, wearing drop earring, hair bound in ampyx and sphendone, no control symbol or signature; reverse four-spoked wheel, SY-PA in upper quarters, two dolphins heads downward nose to nose in lower quarters; very rare; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander IV, c. 323 - 311 B.C.

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Struck after Alexander's death, under either Perdikkas or Antipater, regents during the joint reign of Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother, Philip III, and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule. Both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Olympias had Philip murdered to ensure the succession of her grandson. But Alexander IV would never rule. In 311 B.C., he and his mother Roxana were executed by the regent Kassander.
GS87631. Silver tetradrachm, Price 133; Müller Alexander 542; SNG Alpha Bank 514; SNG Saroglos 253; SNG Cop 688; SNG München 293; Ehrhardt Amphipolis 15, VF, excellent centering, light rose toning, light bumps and marks, weight 16.960 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Amphipolis mint, c. 316 - c. 311 A.D.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, dolphin head down left, Πo under throne; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 390 - 385 B.C.

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Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nullified and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthus, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
GS91333. Silver nomos, Fischer-Bossert group 28, 408 (V179/R314); Vlasto 370 (same dies); SNG ANS 892 (same); SNG Cop 806 (same); HN Italy 870, HGC 1 768 (R1), aF, toned, tight flan, weight 7.564 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 390 - 385 B.C.; obverse ephebe (Greek young man 18 - 20 years old in military training) on horseback galloping right, nude, holding reins with both hands, Λ below horse; reverse Taras astride dolphin left, akrostolion in extended right hand, Λ below dolphin between Taras' feet, TAPAΣ below; $135.00 (€118.80)
 


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.
GI91491. Bronze AE 24, cf. Calciati II p. 395, 197 ff.; SNG Cop 844 ff., SNG ANS 964 ff., SGCV I 1223 (various controls), VF, beautiful Poseidon, nice glossy dark patina, remnant of pre-strike flan casting sprue, weight 9.637 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, 275 - 215 B.C.; obverse head of Poseidon left; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphins at sides, IEP-ΩNOΣ low across field divided by shaft, uncertain control marks below; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Richard Margolis Coins and Medals of the World (Teaneck, NJ); $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, 525 - 475 B.C.

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Unpublished in the major references and collections but more than a dozen specimens are known from auctions. An electrum 1/12 stater with the same dolphin over tunny type is published for Kyzikos (Boston MFA 1409; BMC Mysia p. 19, 13).
GS91171. Silver obol, Von Fritze I -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tübingen -, BMC Mysia -, Rosen -, Klein -, VF, toned, light bumps and marks marks, weight 0.869 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 525 - 475 B.C.; obverse dolphin left, tunny left below; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ; rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, c. 415 B.C.

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Calciati referring to this type notes, "Coins exist signed by signed by Kimon (KIM), Phrygillos (ΦPI), Eukleidas (EY) and by an unknown engraver with the letter E (Eumenes?)." While we cannot see a signature on this coin, the style appears to be that of Phrygillos.
GI88103. Bronze hemilitron, cf. Calciati II p. 47, 19; SNG ANS 412; BMC Sicily p. 182, 243; SNG Cop 696; SGCV I 1186; HGC 2 1479 (S), VF, earthen encrustation, weight 3.738 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 B.C.; obverse Head of Arethusa left, hair in sphendone inscribed ΦPI, dolphin behind; reverse ΣY−PA, wheel of four spokes, dolphin in each of the lower quarters; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 275 B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Megara had 23,456 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
GB85880. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BCD Peloponnesos 9.2 ff. (various symbols below); BMC Attica p. 120, 26 (dolphin below); HGC 4 1797; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 2.829 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, c. 370 - 275 B.C.; obverse prow of galley left, uncertain symbol (cuttlefish, prawn, dolphin, or club?) below; reverse two dolphins swimming clockwise around MEΓ, all within dotted border; ex J. Cohen Collection; $75.00 (€66.00)
 


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.
GI89143. Bronze hemilitra, Calciati II p. 56, 24; SNG ANS 415 ff.; SNG Cop 697 ff.; HGC 2 1480 (S), F, reverse off center, weight 2.490 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, hoop earring, wearing ampyx, with hair bound in sphendone; laurel branch with two leaves behind; reverse dolphin swimming right above ΣYPA, inverted scallop shell below; $75.00 (€66.00)
 




  



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