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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, Agathocles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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Although Agathocles was brutal in pursuit of power, afterward he was a mild and popular "tyrant." His grandest goal was to establish democracy as the dominant form of government for the world. He did not want his sons to succeed him as king and restored the Syracusan democracy on his death bed.
GB69177. Bronze trias, Calciati II p. 247, 118; SNG Munchen 1255 ff.; SNG ANS 752; SNG Cop 776; BMC Sicily p. 198, 414; SGCV I 1204; HGC 2 1509 (S), aVF, smoothing, weight 1.880 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 308 - 307 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left, wearing ornamented Corinthian helmet; reverse ΣYPAK/OΣIΩN, thunderbolt; scarce; $100.00 (€89.00)


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.
GB72271. Bronze AE 27, Calciati II p. 381, 195 R1 16; BMC Sicily p. 217, 585; SNG ANS 923; SNG Cop 833 ff. var. (control), SNG Munchen 1375 ff. var. (control); HGC 2 1548, VF/aF, green patina, pitting, weight 15.743 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 275 - 215 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Hieron left, beardless; reverse horseman prancing right, holding couched spear, Λ (control symbol) below, IEPΩNOΣ exergue (off flan); $100.00 (€89.00)


Akragas, Sicily, c. 413 - 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.
GI83604. Silver hemidrachm, SNG Cop 59, SNG ANS 1010, HGC 2 105 (R1), SNG Munchen -, F, tight flan, etched surfaces, grainy surfaces, weight 1.86 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 413 - 406 B.C.; obverse eagle right, wings open, head lowered, holding supine hare right in talons; reverse crab seen from above, fish right below; $100.00 (€89.00)


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 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.
GB59962. Bronze onkia, Calciati vol III, p. 54, 18; Westermark-Jenkins 190, VF, flan flaw on reverse, weight 1.132 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse Gorgon's head facing with wild locks and no hair band; reverse KAMA, owl standing right, head facing, lizard in left claw, pellet in exergue; $95.00 (€84.55)


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
GB68426. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 59 ff., 29; SNG ANS 385; SNG Cop 679; SNG Munchen 1105; HGC 2 1432 (R1, Second Democracy, 415-405 B.C.); SNG Morcom -, VF, nice green patina, edge chips, weight 1.431 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph facing slightly left, wearing necklace; reverse octopus; $95.00 (€84.55)


Morgantina as Hispani, Sicily, c. 211 - 185 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. See Kenan Erim, "Morgantina," AJA, vol. 62, no. 1 (Jan., 1958), pp. 79-90.
GB65639. Bronze AE 22, Buttrey Catalog, 253, pl. 7, 18 (same dies); Calciati III p. 341, 1; SNG Cop 1079; SNG ANS 4/II 484, aF, large flan, weight 8.400 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 45o, Morgantina mint, c. 211 - 185 B.C.; obverse C SIC-LIVN, male head right; reverse HISPANORVM, helmeted horseman cantering right, holding spear; rare; $90.00 (€80.10)


Iaetia, Sicily, 4th Century B.C.

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Iaitas was located on Mount Jato, near modern San Giuseppe Jato, a village in a hilly region of Palermo's hinterland, 31 km from the Sicilian capital. The settlement dated back to prehistoric times, with influence of Greek culture from the 6th century B.C.
GB65643. Bronze AE 13, Calciati I p.383, 1; SNG ANS 1343; SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -, aF, rough, weight 1.332 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 180o, Iaetia mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse IATINΩN, man-faced bull right; reverse head of grain on left, grain kernel (or a second head of grain) on right; very rare; $90.00 (€80.10)


Aetna, Sicily, c. 210 - 208 B.C.

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In 475 B.C. Hieron moved ten thousand settlers from Syracuse and Peloponnesus to Katane and renamed it Aetna. In 461, after Hieron's death, the new settlers were expelled. They moved to the southern slope of the volcano and founded a new Aetna. In 403 B.C., Dionysius the Elder made himself master of Aetna, where he settled his discharged Campanian mercenaries, the Kampanoi. The Kampanoi retained possession of Aitna until 339 B.C., when Timoleon took the city and put them to the sword. Under Rome, Aitna became a municipal town of considerable importance; its territory being one of the most fertile of all Sicily. The site of the city and time of its destruction are unknown today.
GB65648. Bronze trias, Calciati III, p. 148, 9a (same dies), SNG ANS 1160 - 1161 var. (pellets right); BMC Sicily p. 4, 2 var. (same), VF, nice green patina, weight 4.459 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 45o, Aitna mint, Roman rule, c. 210 - 208 B.C.; obverse radiate and draped bust of Apollo right; reverse AITNAIΩN, warrior standing facing, head right, spear vertical in right, shield in left; three pellets lower right; very rare; $90.00 (€80.10)


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 Munchen 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; $90.00 (€80.10)


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.
GS65784. Silver hemilitra, SNG Munchen 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), aVF, toned, crude style (perhaps a barbaric imitative), weight 0.280 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 0o, 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; $90.00 (€80.10)




    



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
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