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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.
Carthaginians in Sicily, 300 - 289 B.C.
At the height of its prominence, Carthage's influence extended over most of the western Mediterranean. Rivalry with Rome led to a series of conflicts, the Punic Wars. The Third Punic War ended in the complete destruction of the city, annexation by Rome of all Carthaginian territory, and the death or enslavement of the entire Carthaginian population.SL84036. Silver tetradrachm, Jenkins Punic 394 (O120/R322); SNG CopVIII 91; Dewing 983; SGCV II 6438; HGC 2 295, NGC Choice VF, strike 4/5, surface 5/5 (3819620-001), weight 17.03 g, maximum diameter 23 mm, die axis 225o, Sicilian mint, 300 - 289 B.C.; obversehead of Herakles right, clad in lion's scalp; reverse horse's head left, palm tree behind, Punic inscription MHSBM (paymasters) below; NGC certified (slabbed); $1260.00 SALE PRICE $1134.00
Lipara, Islands off Sicily, c. 412 - 408 B.C.
This very raretype should not be confused with the later, lighter, issue with the pellets arranged in two rows of three.SH73170. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 14, 16; BMC Sicily p. 259, 33; SNG Cop -; SNG München -; HGC 2 -, VF, green patina, irregular flan, light corrosion, weight 12.076 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lipara mint, c. 412 - 408 B.C.; obverse young Hephaistos seated right on draped chair, nude, hammer in right hand, kantharos in left; reverse ΛIΠAPAIΩN, ethnic around a circle of six pellets; very rare; $540.00 SALE PRICE $486.00
Messana, Sicily, c. 330 - 325 B.C.
Founded in the 8th century B.C., until the 5th century Messina was called Zancle, meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its harbor. Carthage sacked the city in 397 B.C. and then Dionysius I of Syracuse conquered it. In 288 B.C. the Mamertine mercenaries seized the city by treachery, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives. The city became a base from which they ravaged the countryside, leading to conflict with Syracuse. Initially Carthage assisted the Mamertines. When Syracuse attacked a second time, the Mamertines asked Rome for help. Rome was initially reluctant, but allied with the Mamertines to limit Carthaginian power.In 264 B.C., Roman troops were deployed to Sicily, the first time a Roman army acted outside the Italian Peninsula. At the end of the First Punic War, Messana was a free city allied with Rome.SH77506. Bronze tetras, HGC 2 840 (R1); Caltabiano 751 ff.; Calciati I p. 52, 16; SNG Cop 421; SNG München 674; SNG ANS -; BMC Sicily -, Nice VF, fine classical style, nice green patina, weight 3.603 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 180o, Messana (Messina, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 330 - 325 B.C.; obverse ΠOΣEI∆AN, laureate head of Poseidon left, ∆ (mark of value) behind; reverse M−E−Σ−Σ−A−NI−ON, ornate trident head, flanked on each side by a dolphin with head down; rare; $500.00 SALE PRICE $450.00
Kamarina, Sicily, 413 - 405 B.C.
Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marshnorth 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.GI76938. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins 200; Calciati III pp. 63 - 65, 33; BMC Sicily p. 40; 40; SNG München 415; SNG ANS 1228; SNG Cop 169; HGC 2 548, gVF, nice green patina, tight flan, weight 3.242 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 90o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 413 - 405 B.C.; obversehead of Athena left, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with wing, dot border; reverse KAMA (downward on right), owl standing left on left leg, head facing, lizard in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00
Akragas, Sicily, c. 510 - 500 B.C.
Akragas was founded early in the 6th century by colonists from Gela. It was second only to Syracuse in importance on Sicily, but was sacked by the Carthaginians in 406 B.C. It was renamed Agrigentum after it fell to Rome in 210 B.C. GS79796. Silver didrachm, Jenkins Id; cf. HGC 2 90 (R2); SNG ANS 918; SNG Cop 28; BMC Sicily p. 6, 9 (tetradrachm), VF, attractive style, tight flan, die wear, light marks and porosity, weight 8.559 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 315o, Akragas mint, c. 495 - 482 B.C.; obverse AKPAXA/NTOΣ (counterclockwise from lower right, letters retrograde), sea eagle standing left, wings closed; reverse crab; rare; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00
Akragas, Sicily, 450 - 440 B.C.
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.GI76829. Cast bronze trias, Calciati I, p. 143, 1; Westermark Fifth pl. I, 1; SNG Cop 61; SNG ANS 1015; SNG Lloyd 832; HGC 2 126 (R1);, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, some light corrosion, weight 16.186 g, Akragas mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; cast near tooth-shaped flattened cone form, four pellets on flat top, sea-eagle standing left on one side, crab opposite; rare; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00
Syracuse, Sicily, Fifth Democracy, 214 - 212 B.C.
Overcoming formidable resistance and the ingenious devices of Archimedes, the Roman General MarcusClaudius 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. GI76346. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 418, 209/3; SNG ANS 1052 var. (legend arrangement, etc.); HGC 2 1514 var. (head left, etc.); SNG Cop -, Choice VF, nice green patina, weight 4.176 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 105o, Syracuse mint, c. 214 - 212 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon right; reverse ΣYPAKO−ΣIΩN (clockwise from upper right), ornamented trident head; very rare; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00
The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.
Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C. SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverseSIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $330.00 SALE PRICE $297.00
Piakos, Sicily, c. 425 - 400 B.C.
Struck with unsigned dies by the ?Maestro della Foglia.? Rizzo was the first to suggest that this famed artist who engraved magnificent masterpieces for Katane, was also the engraver for the dies of this Piakos coinage. Other experts have agreed. This particular type might have been his very first work. Calciati dates the type to a possible period of transitory independence, 425 - 424 B.C., during the time of the first Carthaginian invasion of Sicily to shortly after Gela's conference. Other authorities date it as late as 400 B.C. SH71341. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 198, 2; Rizzo pl. LX, 14; HGC 2 1101 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München -; SNG Morcom -, VF, weight 2.357 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 45o, Piakos mint, c. 425 - 400 B.C.; obverse P•I•A•K (pellets are mark of value), laureate and horned head of a young river-god left; reverse hound right attacking fallen stag right, seizing her by the throat, barley kernel on left and another on right; rare; $330.00 SALE PRICE $297.00
Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.
This combination of control symbols is not listed in the references examined. The cornucopiaobverse control symbol is normally paired with a fulmen (thunderbolt) on the reverse. The vertical trident reverse control symbol is normally paired with a club on the obverse. SH73164. Bronze AE 26, Calciati II p. 325, 177 Ds 69 var. (club vice cornucompia); SNG Cop 810 var.; SNG ANS 844 ff. var.; SNG München 1333 ff. var.; HGC 2 1450 (S), VF, nice style, nice patina, broad flan, edge split, weight 11.274 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Herakles left, clad in lion-skin head-dress, cornucopia (control symbol) behind; reverseAthena Promachos advancing right, helmeted and draped, hurling javelin with raised right hand, shield in left hand, no inscription, vertical trident head upward (control symbol) behind; rare variety; $320.00 SALE PRICE $288.00
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