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

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A simulacrum is a sculpture of a person or a god, sometimes without detail forming only a vague semblance.
GI74374. Bronze AE 25, Calciati II p. 428, 230; SNG Cop 897; SNG ANS 1059; SNG Morcom 835, F/aF, well centered, small flan cracks, weight 14.806 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, 212 - c. 189 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse simulacrum in slow quadriga right, ΣYPAKO/ΣION divided in two lines, one above and one below; rare; $110.00 (€96.80)


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

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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 Pyrric victory, a victory achieved at ruinous cost.
GI75171. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 321, 176; SNG Cop 813, SNG ANS 852; SGCV I 1214; HGC 2, 1451, VF/F, weight 11.494 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles left, clad in Nemean Lion scalp head-dress; reverse ΣYPA−KOΣIΩN, Athena Promachos advancing right, hurling thunderbolt with right, shield in left; $110.00 (€96.80)


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.
GB66786. 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 3.126 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 315o, Katane 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; $105.00 (€92.40)


Sicily or Sardinia, Carthaginian Rule, c. 300 - 264 B.C.

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Calciati notes that although this type is often attributed to Sardina, the frequency of finds in Sicily demonstrates that it was also minted there.
GB63621. Bronze AE 19, Calciati III p. 395, 21; SNG Cop 173, VF, weight 5.270 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 90o, Sicily or Sardinia mint, c. 300 - 290(?) B.C.; obverse head of Tanit left, hair wreathed with grain, wearing earring and necklace; reverse head and neck of horse right, palm tree right; $100.00 (€88.00)


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.
GS67480. Silver hemilitra, SNG München 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), VF, weight 0.282 g, maximum diameter 10.3 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; very rare; $100.00 (€88.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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This is an odd depiction of Arethusa, apparently without earrings or a necklace, and with locks of hair appearing like horns. She appears more like a river-god than a fountain nymph. The octopus seems upside down to us, but this is how they are photographed in Calciati.
GB67655. Bronze onkia, Calciati II p. 30, 10/7; SNG ANS 384; HGC 2 1434 (R1); SNG Cop -, aVF, centered, green patina, pitting, weight 1.235 g, maximum diameter 12.3 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 435 - 415 B.C.; obverse ΣYPA, head of nymph Arethusa right, no earring or necklace, dolphin downward behind; reverse octopus, pellet between tentacles, within round incuse; rare; $100.00 (€88.00)


Panormos, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 241 - 70 B.C.

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In 254 B.C. Panormus was captured by the Romans. It retained its municipal freedom, and remained one of the principal cities of Sicily. It continued to issue bronze coins, bearing the names of various resident magistrates, and following the Roman system. Under Augustus, Panormus received a Roman colony.
GI75169. Bronze AE 12, Calciati I p. 338, 41; SNG ANS 580; SNG Cop 545; SNG München 778; BMC Sicily p. 123, 23; HGC 2 1085 (S), VF, weight 1.979 g, maximum diameter 12.4 mm, die axis 150o, Panormos (Palermo, Sicily) mint, Roman rule, c. 241 - 70 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter left, veiled and wreathed in grain, plow(?) behind; reverse war galley prow right, Panormos Greek monogram above; scarce; $100.00 (€88.00)


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

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Catania, on the east coast of Sicily between Messina and Syracuse, has been repeatedly damaged and even destroyed by catastrophic earthquakes and eruptions from Mount Etna, yet it still prospers. Today, Catania is an economic, tourist, and education center, and an important hub of industry, nicknamed the "European Silicon Valley."
GB65645. Bronze two chalkoi, Calciati III p. 112, 26; SNG ANS 1284; SNG Cop 194; BMC Sicily p. 52, 66 (hexas), VF, nice for the type, green patina, weight 3.590 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 0o, Katane mint, c. 212 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left, monogram behind neck; reverse KATA/NAIΩN, Aphrodite Hyblaia (or Isis?) standing right, wearing kalathos on head, holding dove in extended right, II (2 chalkoi) right; rare; $95.00 (€83.60)


Syracuse, Sicily, Agathocles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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In 311 B.C., Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse, invaded the Carthaginian holdings on Sicily and laid siege to Akragas. Hamilcar led the Carthaginian response, and by 310 controlled almost all of Sicily and laid siege to Syracuse itself. In desperation, Agathocles secretly led an expedition of 14,000 men to Africa, hoping to save his rule by leading a counterstrike against Carthage itself. Carthage was forced to recall Hamilcar and most of his army from Sicily. Agathocles was eventually defeated in 307 B.C., but he escaped back to Sicily and negotiated a peace which maintained Syracuse as a stronghold of Greek power in Sicily.
GB90149. Bronze AE 24, cf. Calciati II p. 218, 96 DS 114 R1 4 (amphora); BMC Sicily p. 194, 358 (barley kernel); SNG Cop 757 (same); SNG ANS 567 (trophy); SNG München -, aVF, superb classical style, old light scratches, weight 10.039 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 317 - 289 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Kore left, wreathed with grain, amphora(?) behind; reverse bull butting left, dolphin over NK monogram above, dolphin below; ex Ancient Imports; ex Coin Galleries mail bid, 14 Nov 1984, part of lot 327; $95.00 (€83.60)


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
GB59265. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 59 ff., 29; SNG ANS 385; SNG Cop 679; SNG Morcom -, VF, rough green patina, weight 1.852 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph facing slightly left, wearing neck; reverse octopus; $90.00 (€79.20)




    



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Catalog current as of Saturday, April 30, 2016.
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Sicilian Greek Coins