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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, 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.
SH70877. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 509 (V268/R362), SNG ANS 162 (same dies), VF, attractive Arethusa, obverse die worn, edge flaw, weight 16.852 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 460 - 450 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, reins in both hands, Nike flying right above crowning horses, ketos swimming right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, diademed head of Arethusa right, hair rolled and tucked under diadem, wearing earring and necklace, four dolphins swimming around clockwise; $1800.00 (€1584.00)

Herbessos, Sicily, c. 344 - 335 B.C.

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The site of the native Sikel Herbessos is uncertain but it was probably located near Leontinoi. Like other Sikel towns, it supported Carthage against Syracuse, however, in 396 B.C. Herbessos formed an alliance with Dionysos I. In 310 B.C., Agathokles installed a garrison to hold it against Carthage. In 309 B.C., with the aid of Akragas, the city expelled the garrison and claimed its freedom. In the Punic Wars, Herbessos was repeatedly held by Carthage until taken by Rome. About 213 B.C., Herbesso became a civitas decumana, paying 1/10th of its annual harvest to Rome. Although it probably continued to exist for centuries, it then disappears from history.
GI72187. Bronze drachm, Castrizio series II, 1 (354- 344 B.C); Calciati III, p. 252, 4; SNG Morcom 593; SNG Lloyd 1002; Rizzo pl. LIX, 17; HGC 2 411 (R2), VF, overstruck on Syracuse drachm, weight 32.639 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 270o, Herbessos mint, c. 344 - 335 B.C.; obverse EPBEΣΣINΩN, head of Sikelia right, hair adorned with myrtle olive wreath; reverse forepart of man-faced bull right; big bronze!; rare; $1200.00 (€1056.00)

Lipara, Islands off Sicily, c. 412 - 408 B.C.

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This very rare type 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; $600.00 (€528.00)

The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

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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; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $400.00 (€352.00)

Piakos, Sicily, c. 425 - 400 B.C.

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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; $400.00 (€352.00)

Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.

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This combination of control symbols is not listed in the references examined. The cornucopia obverse 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 Munchen 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; reverse Athena 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; $400.00 (€352.00)

Akragas, Sicily, 450 - 440 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.
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 (€352.00)

Gela, Sicily, c. 339 - 310 B.C.

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Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshipped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
SH71027. Bronze tetras, Jenkins Gela, group XII, 549; Calciati III p. 29, 59; BMC Sicily p. 74, 77; SNG Cop 287; SNG Müchen 324; SNG ANS 123; HGC 2 388 (R1), VF, well centered, green patina, corrosion, weight 2.921 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 135o, Gela mint, c. 339 - 310 B.C.; obverse ΓEΛΩI−ΩN (beginning upward on left), head of Demeter facing slightly right, wreathed with barley, wearing earrings and necklace; reverse bearded head of river-god Gela left, short horn over forehead, bull's ear, wreathed with barley (or reeds?); rare; $350.00 (€308.00)

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.
SH71353. 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) (S), gVF, some corrosion, weight 18.018 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios left; reverse ΣYPA−K−OΣIO−N (clockwise from 11:00), free horse prancing left; $350.00 (€308.00)

Gela, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Gela, named after the river Gela, was founded by colonists from Rhodos and Crete around 688 B.C. In 424 B.C., the Congress of Gela established a "Sicily for the Sicilians" platform and formed a league that pushed back the Athenian attempt to conquer the island. The city had a history of internal strife between its plebs and aristocrats. When the Carthaginians arrived in 311 BC, they easily captured the Gela with the help of its elites. In 282 B.C., Phintias of Agrigento ruthlessly destroyed Gela to crush its power forever. In Roman times it was only a small settlement.
SH71354. Bronze tetras, Jenkins Gela 516; Calciati III p. 17, 32; SNG ANS 115; SNG Cop 283; SNG München 314; BMC Sicily, p. 73, 66; HGC 2 379 (S), VF/gVF, green patina, weight 3.301 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 315o, Gela mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse bull standing left, head lowered and turned slightly facing, barley kernel over ΓEΛAΣ above, three pellets in exergue; reverse horned head of beardless young river-god Gela right, no diadem, floating hair, barley kernel behind; scarce; $350.00 (€308.00)




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Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 24, 2015.
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Sicilian Greek Coins