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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Sicily||View 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.

Selinous, Sicily, c. 540 - 415 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Selinous,| |Sicily,| |c.| |540| |-| |415| |B.C.|, |didrachm|
The leaf/incuse didrachms of Selinus vary in the shape and features of the leaf, and the number of divisions and arrangement of the incuse. We have been unable to find an exact match to this coin.
SH95209. Silver didrachm, Arnold-Biucchi Selinus 6; HGC 2 1211 (R1); SNG ANS 679; SNG Cop 592; SNG Ash 1886; SNG Delepierre 602; Selinous Hoard pl. 2, 25; BMC Sicily p. 138, 7, VF, toned, die wear, etched surfaces, flan crack, weight 8.276 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 0o, Selinus mint, c. 540 - 415 B.C.; obverse selinon (wild parsley) leaf, two tiny pellets at base of stem; reverse incuse square divided into twelve triangular alternating deeper and shallower sections; ex Forum (2017), ex David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $1000.00 SALE |PRICE| $900.00


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Timoleon| |and| |the| |Third| |Democracy,| |c.| |344| |-| |317| |B.C.|, |dilitron|
Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.
GI95238. Silver dilitron, SNG ANS 518; SNG Cop 717; SNG Munchen 1126; BMC Sicily p. 186, 283; Weber 1644; HGC 2 1373 (R2), VF, well centered, very dark toning, porosity, edge crack, weight 1.226 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 344 - 317 B.C.; obverse laureate Janiform female head, ΣYPAKOΣI-ΩN upward on left, two dolphins nose to nose on right; reverse horse galloping right, barley ear right above, N below; ex Forum (2018); rare; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 344 - 336 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Timoleon,| |344| |-| |336| |B.C.|, |hemidrachm|NEW
Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.
GI93448. Bronze hemidrachm, Calciati II p. 167, 72; SNG ANS 477; SNG Cop 727; SNG Munchen 1151; BMC Sicily p. 189, 313; Laffaille 220; HGC 2 1440 (S), VF, attractive style, a few spots of corrosion, thick flan with pre-strike casting sprues remaining (normal for the type), weight 16.099 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 342 - 338 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ (clockwise starting upper right), laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios right; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (clockwise starting upper right), thunderbolt, eagle on right standing right with wings closed; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $260.00 SALE |PRICE| $234.00


Agyrion, Sicily, 355 - 344 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Agyrion,| |Sicily,| |355| |-| |344| |B.C.|, |tetras|
Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sikel 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 Sikel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.

According to Caltabiano, Palagkaios was probably the Sikel name for the larger of the two local rivers (Salso Cimarosa today). Molinari and Sisci propose a Semitic origin, from the Akkadian palag-ās, 'the gushing river.'
GB91174. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 125, 10; Potamikon 14; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Morcom -, VF, dark green patina, undersize flan, weight 2.685 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 270o, Agyrion (Agira, Sicily, Italy) mint, 355 - 344 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI counterclockwise before, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse forepart of a man-faced bull (river-god Acheloios Palagkaios) left, ΠAΛAΓKAIOΣ horizontal above, dot border; rare; $190.00 SALE |PRICE| $171.00


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

|Kamarina|, |Kamarina,| |Sicily,| |420| |-| |405| |B.C.|, |tetras|NEW
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.
GI93440. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins, type F, 195.12; BMC Sicily p. 40, 38; Calciati III p. 57, 24; SNG Cop 168; SNG Munchen V 410; HGC 2 547 (S), VF, green patina, tight flan, bumps and scratches, spots of corrosion, weight 2.927 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 90o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), smooth neatly waved hair tied with ribbon, symmetrical locks on forehead, dimpled cheeks, protruding tongue; reverse owl standing left, head facing, lizard with head down in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue, no control marks, KAMA downward on right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


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

|Other| |Sicily|, |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 Munchen -; 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; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00


Syracuse, Sicily, Hiketas, 287 - 278 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Hiketas,| |287| |-| |278| |B.C.|, |litra|
This combination of obverse and reverse control symbols (thunderbolt / star) is not published in the many references examined by Forum, however, we know of about a half dozen examples. The thunderbolt obverse control is most often combined with A over a star reverse left. The star reverse control is paired with a variety of obverse controls most commonly a trophy or bucranium.
GI87381. Bronze litra, cf. Calciati II p. 303, 157 Ds 59 Rs 14; SNG Mn 1308; SNG ANS 810; SNG Morcom 783; BMC Sicily p. 204, 473, VF, dark patina, tight flan, some bumps, scratch, and mild corrosion, weight 10.719 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 287 - 278 B.C.; obverse ∆IOΣ EΛΛANIOY, beardless and laureate head of Zeus Hellanios left, thunderbolt (control symbol) behind; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (upward on left, undivided), eagle with wings open standing left atop fulmen, star (control symbol) lower left, linear border; apparently unpublished; rare variant; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Pyrrhus| |of| |Epirus,| |278| |-| |276| |B.C.|, |litra|NEW
In 279 B.C., Pyrrhus' forces, supporting the Greek cities of southern Italy, met and defeated the Romans at the battle of Asculum in Apulia. Pyrrhus, however, lost many men, several close associates, and all of his baggage. When one of his soldiers congratulated him on his victory, he famously replied: "Another such victory and we are ruined!" From this we have the term Pyrrhic victory, a victory achieved at ruinous cost.
GI93456. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 321, 176; SNG Cop 813, SNG ANS 852; SGCV I 1214; HGC 2, 1451, VF, well centered, attractive style, reverse strike a little flat, minor flan flaws, remnants of pre-strike casting sprues, weight 10.543 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles left, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress; reverse ΣYPA-KOΣIΩN (clockwise starting at 3:00), Athena Promachos advancing right, hurling thunderbolt with right hand, shield in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Timoleon| |and| |the| |Third| |Democracy,| |c.| |344| |-| |317| |B.C.|, |hemilitron|
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.
GI91325. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 211, 92 DS 25 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily p. 188, 304 var. (no helmet); SNG ANS 1384 var. (same); HGC 2 1505 (S); SNG Cop -; SNG Mn -, gVF, well centered, rough corrosion/encrustation, weight 2.588 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, Syracuse mint, c. 336 - 317 B.C.; obverse head of head of nymph Arethusa facing slightly left, Thessalian helmet (control symbol) left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, Pegasos forepart flying left, archaic curved wing; Ex Eric J. Engstrom Collection; scarce; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Panormos, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 241 - 50 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Panormos,| |Sicily,| |Roman| |Rule,| |c.| |241| |-| |50| |B.C.|, |AE| |23|
The gens Calpurnia was a plebeian family, which claimed descent from Calpus, the son of Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome. The first of the gens to obtain the consulship was Gaius Calpurnius Piso in 180 B.C., but from this time their consulships were very frequent, and the family of the Pisones became one of the most illustrious in the Roman state. Two important pieces of Republican legislation, the lex Calpurnia of 149 B.C. and lex Acilia Calpurnia of 67 B.C. were passed by members of the gens.
GI76937. Bronze AE 23, Calciati I p. 351, 130 (2 specimens); SNG Cop 556; HGC 2 1071 (C); SNG Munchen 810 var. (AE28); SNG ANS -; SNG Tb -; BMC Sicily -, gVF/aVF, attractive style, green patina, weight 5.744 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, Panormus (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, magistrate C. Calpurnius, c. 241 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus left; reverse warrior standing left, sword in extended right hand, spear vertical behind in left, grounded shield behind leaning on spear, C CALP lower left; rare; $120.00 SALE |PRICE| $108.00




  






REFERENCES|

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