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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.


Agyrion, Sicily, c. 344 - 336 B.C.

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Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sicel 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 Sicel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.
GB63889. Bronze AE 14, Calciati III p. 125, 10; SNG ANS -; SNG Morcom -, VF, nice patina, weight 4.086 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 180o, Agyrion (Agira, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse AΓYPINAI, forepart of a man-faced bull left, legend horizontal above; rare; $130.00 (€115.70)


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.
GB67649. Bronze onkia, Westermark-Jenkins, type F, 196; Calciati vol III, p. 57, 22; HGC 2 553 (R1), VF, green patina, weight 1.382 g, maximum diameter 10.9 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 KAMA, owl standing left, head facing, lizard with head down in right talon, one pellet (mark of value) in exergue, no control marks; rare; $130.00 (€115.70)


Syracuse, Sicily, Roman Rule, 212 - c. 189 B.C.

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Overcoming formidable resistance and the ingenious devices of Archimedes, the Roman General Marcus Claudius 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.
GB69016. Bronze AE 22, Calciati II p. 424, 227; SNG ANS 1066 ff.; SNG Cop 900; SNG München 1472 ff.; HGC 2 1474 (S), gVF, nice green patina, unusual style, weight 7.757 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, 212 - c. 189 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus left; reverse Nike in galloping in a biga right, whip(?) in right, reins in left, crescent above, ΣYPAKOΣIΩN in exergue; scarce; $130.00 (€115.70)


Akragas, Sicily, c. 425 - 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.
SH56732. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 172, 26; SNG ANS 1028; SNG Morcom 519; HGC 2 137; SNG München -; SNG Cop -, aF, weight 13.624 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 90o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 425 - 406 B.C.; obverse AKPA, eagle left, wings open, head lowered, clutching dead hare in talons; reverse crab, crayfish left below, three pellets flanking claws on each side (six total), all within a shallow round incuse; $125.00 (€111.25)


Katane, Sicily, c. 212 - 50 B.C.

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In 212 B.C., after a two-year siege, despite defenses designed by the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes, the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus forced his way into Syracuse. Although Marcellus wished to spare the Syracusans, he was unable to stop his soldiers from sacking the city. Archimedes was killed. Marcellus carried off the art treasures of Syracuse to Rome, the first recorded instance of a practice which was to become common.
GB66799. Bronze two chalkoi, Calciati III p. 110, 25; SNG ANS 1278; SNG Morcom 563; HGC 2 612 (R1); BMC Sicily p. 51, 65 corr.; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 3.768 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 212 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse KATA/NAIΩN, Aphrodite Hyblaia (or Isis?) standing right, wearing kalathos on head, holding dove in extended right, II (2 chalkoi) right; $125.00 (€111.25)


Akragas, Sicily, 287 - 241 B.C.

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Zeus Hellanios may be translated as "Zeus worshiped by all Greeks." In Sicily, Zeus Hellanios was depicted without a beard, and so is often mistaken for Apollo. Zeus Hellanios may have been depicted on this coin type to help unify the Greeks against Carthage. It highlights a commonality among all Greeks and a distinction between them and the Phoenicians, who worshiped Melqart.
GB69009. Bronze trias, Calciati p 214, 134; SNG ANS 134; cf. SNG Morcom 541; SNG Cop 113 var. (∆ control letter on obv.); HGC 2 159, VF, nice patina, weight 4.360 g, maximum diameter 19.22 mm, die axis 90o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, 287 - 241 B.C.; obverse beardless and laureate head of Zeus Hellanios right; reverse two eagles left, hare in talons, nearest with head upright screaming, eagle behind head lowered on hare; $125.00 (€111.25)


Syracuse, Sicily, c. 415 B.C., By the Master Phrygillos

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Superb style by the master Phrygillos. 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 the signature on this coin is not clear, it is without any doubt the work of Phrygillos.
GI77310. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati p. 47, 19 fr 4; SNG ANS 412; BMC Sicily p. 182, 243; SNG Cop 696 (obv. symbol off flan); SGCV I 1186; HGC 2 1479 (S), VF, rough, encrustations, areas of corrosion, weight 3.568 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 135o, 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; $125.00 (€111.25)


Syracuse, Sicily, The Third Democracy, c. 334 - 317 B.C.

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Timoleon established a democracy in 345 B.C. and after defeating the Carthaginians in 339 B.C., he retired into private life without assuming any title or office. He went blind before his death. When important issues were discussed he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. After his death, the struggle for control of the city restarted, ending with the rise of another tyrant, Agathocles, who seized power with a coup in 317 B.C.
GB67679. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 199, 85; BMC Sicily p. 191, 331; SNG Cop 738; SNG ANS 646 - 647 (310 - 305 B.C.); HGC 2, 1486 (S, 310 - 305 B.C.), VF, rough areas, weight 5.639 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, c. 334 - 317 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, laureate head of Apollo left; reverse Pegasos with pointed wing flying to left, ∆ below; $120.00 (€106.80)


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.
GS90331. Silver hemilitron, Boehringer 716 (V351/R717), HGC 2 1390 (R2), SNG Cop -, SNG ANS -, SNG München -, F, grainy, weight 0.347 g, maximum diameter 9.7 mm, Syracuse mint, c. 420 - 415 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa right, hair in saccos; reverse S-Y-R-A, ethnic clockwise within a wheel of four pokes; ex Numismatik Lanz; rare; $120.00 (€106.80)


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.
GB71006. Bronze litra, Calciati p. 399, 198 R1; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München; HGC 2 -; SRCV I -, aVF, nice green patina, weight 7.329 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, c. 217 - 215 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon right; reverse ornamented trident-head, dolphins at sides, IEP−ΩNOΣ in lower field divided by shank, ΛY lower right; very rare head right; $120.00 (€106.80)




    



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Catalog current as of Saturday, December 10, 2016.
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