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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.

Messana, Sicily, 411 - 408 B.C.

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Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina was originally called Zancle, from the Greek meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its natural harbor (though a legend attributes the name to King Zanclus). In the early 5th century BC, Anaxilas of Rhegium renamed it Messene in honor of the Greek city Messene.
GB66780. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 51, 9mv4/1; BMC Sicily p. 107, 71; cf. SNG ANS 390 (controls obscure), VF, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, 411 - 408 B.C.; obverse ΠEΛΩPIAΣ, head of nymph Peloria left, hair in ampyx and sphendone, dolphin behind neck; reverse MEΣΣANIΩN, trident, A P between prongs, scallop shell left, hare downward on right; rare; $105.00 (€93.45)

Katane, Sicily, c. 415 - 403 B.C.

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Katane was captured by Dionysios of Syracuse in 403 B.C., who sold the population into slavery and resettled the city with Campanian mercenaries. The city submitted to Rome during the First Punic war.
GB67139. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 91, 1; SNG ANS 1272; BMC Sicily p. 50, 51; SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, VF, a bit rough, weight 1.820 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 315o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 415 - 403 B.C.; obverse AMENANOΣ, young head of river-god Amenanos left, with horns and wavy hair; reverse winged thunderbolt, wings open, K-A flanking under wings, three small pellets around (two above wings, one right); rare; $100.00 (€89.00)

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, 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.
GB69928. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 205, 85 Ds78 R17/1 (same rev die); SNG ANS 648; SNG Cop 736 ff. var. (various control symbols), VF, weight 4.508 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 334 - 317 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, laureate head of Apollo left, pileus (control symbol) right; reverse Pegasos with pointed wing flying to left, A (control symbol) below; $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)

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)

Thermae Himerenses, Sicily, c. 407 - 370 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians under the command of Hannibal, conquered Himera, crucified three hundred of its leading men and obliterated the town. The site has been desolate ever since. The few surviving Greeks were settled by the Carthaginians eleven kilometers west of Himera at Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese today). Thermae was the birthplace of Agathocles.

Herakles was named in honor of his stepmother Hera, but she was his enemy. She even tried to prevent his birth by tying his mother's legs in knots and to kill him as an infant with two serpents. After Hera drove him mad, Hercules slew his own six sons. She made almost all of Herakles' twelve labors more difficult. Hera later befriended Herakles for saving her from Porphyrion, a giant who tried to rape her. She even gave her daughter Hebe to him as his bride.
GB70605. Bronze AE 15, Calciati I p. 119, 13; BMC Sicily p. 83, 3; SNG ANS 190; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 3.800 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 180o, Thermai mint, c. 407 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of Hera right wearing stephane; reverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion's head headdress; $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)




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Catalog current as of Sunday, April 30, 2017.
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