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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.

"Kainon," Sicily, c. 367 - 340 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |"Kainon,"| |Sicily,| |c.| |367| |-| |340| |B.C.|, |tetras|NEW
This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI93437. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 249, 1; SNG Cop 133 (Alaesa); SNG Munchen 213 (Alaisa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 3 (Alaesa?); SGCV I 1048 (Alaisa); HGC 2 509, F, dark patina, tight thick flan, founded edges, bumps, some corrosion, weight 9.380 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 135o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, rope-like exergue line (clouds?); reverse horse prancing left, loose reins flying behind, KAINON in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

|Kamarina|, |Kamarina,| |Sicily,| |420| |-| |405| |B.C.|, |onkia|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.
GI93439. Bronze onkia, Westermark-Jenkins, type A, 177; Calciati III, p. 48, 4; BMC Sicily p. 40, 41; HGC 2 552 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -, VF/aVF, green patina, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 1.053 g, maximum diameter 12.7 mm, die axis 270o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), smooth neat hair tied with ribbon, symmetrical locks on forehead, protruding tongue; reverse KAMA (upward on left), owl standing right on right leg, head facing, lizard with head down in left talon, A (control mark) right, one pellet (mark of value) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


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


Kentoripai, Sicily, c. 211 - 190 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Kentoripai,| |Sicily,| |c.| |211| |-| |190| |B.C.|, |hexas|NEW
Kentoripai was an iron age Sikel town that maintained its culture and language long after much of Sicily had become Hellenized. In 414 B.C., the town allied with Athens to help defeat a Syracusan inland expedition. In 396, Kentoripai made a treaty with Syracuse. In 344, Timoleon defeated Nikodemos, the ruler of Kentoripai and annexed the city and its territory. Kentoripai was one of the first cities in Sicily to make a treaty with Rome. The city was rewarded for its loyalty and under Roman protection it became one of the most important cities in Roman Sicily.
GI93441. Bronze hexas, Calciati III p. 175, 7; BMC Sicily p. 56, 13; SNG ANS 1323; SNG Cop 216; SNG Munchen 517; HGC 2 637 (R1), aVF, well centered on a broad flan, green patina with red copper areas, porous, small edge cracks, weight 4.435 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kentoripai mint, c. 211 - 190 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Demeter right, wreathed in grain, wearing earring and necklace, stalk of grain behind; reverse plow right, bird on the share, two pellets left, KENTO/PIΠINΩN in two lines, starting above, ending below, linear border; from the Errett Bishop Collection, this is the first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; scarce; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Leontini, Sicily, c. 405 - 402 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Leontini,| |Sicily,| |c.| |405| |-| |402| |B.C.|, |tetras|NEW
Leontini was founded as by colonists from Naxos in 729 BC, itself a Chalcidian colony established five years earlier. It was the only significant Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, being some 6 miles inland. The site, originally held by the Sicels, was seized by the Greeks owing to its command of the fertile plain to the north. The city was reduced to subject status in 498 BC by Hippocrates of Gela, and in 476 BC Hieron of Syracuse moved the inhabitants from Catania and Naxos to Leontini.
GI93445. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 77, 3; SNG Cop 360; SNG ANS 270; SNG Morcom 606; SNG Lloyd 1070; BMC Sicily p. 92, 56; Laffaille 169; HGC 2 709 (R1), gF, dark patina, scattered porosity/corrosion, small edge crack, obverse edge beveled, weight 2.110 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 90o, Leontini mint, c. 405 - 402 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, olive leaf and olive behind; reverse tripod lebes, a barley kernel flanking on each side, kithara between legs of tripod, three pellets in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysos I, 405 - 367 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Dionysos| |I,| |405| |-| |367| |B.C.|, |litra|NEW
Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
GI93450. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 88, 44; SNG ANS 449; SNG Cop 722; BMC Sicily p. 187, 289; HGC 2 1456 (all described with wreath on helmet but some images without), aF, well centered, rough and porous from corrosion, weight 7.956 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 390 - 375 B.C.; obverse ΣYPA, head of Athena left wearing plain Corinthian helmet, two dolphins downward, one before, one behind, no pellet; reverse hippocamp left, with bridle; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $45.00 SALE |PRICE| $40.00


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Agathokles,| |317| |-| |289| |B.C.|, |AE| |13|NEW
With an army of mercenaries, through deceit, and after banishing or murdering some 10,000 citizens, Agathocles made himself master of Syracuse and later most of Sicily. Machiavelli wrote of him, It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious and cited him as an example of those who by their crimes come to be princes. According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow.
GI93451. Bronze AE 13, cf. Calciati II p. 284, 149; SNG ANS 744; SNG Morcom 748; HGC 2 1525 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -, BMC Sicily -, F, brown tone, porosity/corrosion, reverse off center, weight 1.496 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 295 - 289 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣION, laureate head of Apollo left, uncertain control symbol behind; reverse dog seated left, looking back right at tail, Y (control letter) above, A (control letter) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $120.00 SALE |PRICE| $108.00


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, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Hieron| |II,| |275| |-| |215| |B.C.|, |AE| |28|NEW
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.
GI93457. Bronze AE 28, cf. Calciati p. 374, 193; SNG ANS 909 ff.; SNG Cop 843; BMC Sicily p. 215, 565 ff.; HGC 2 1547 (S) (all refs. various controls), aVF/F, well centered, rough from corrosion, weight 17.960 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 240 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Hieron left, beardless, uncertain control symbol behind; reverse cavalryman prancing right, helmeted, wearing military garb, chlamys flying behind, couched spear in right hand, reins in left hand, IEPΩNOΣ in exergue, control symbols (if any) obscure; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, c. 275 - 215 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Hieron| |II,| |c.| |275| |-| |215| |B.C.|, |AE| |20|NEW
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.
GI93460. Bronze AE 20, Calciati II p. 353, 192; SNG ANS 596; BMC Sicily p. 219, 624 var. (poppy obv.); SNG Cop 865 var. (same); HGC 2 1469 (S); SNG Mun -, aF, well centered on a broad flan, partial dark patina, porous, scratches, edge crack, weight 5.041 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, 275 - 265 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Persephone left, wearing barley wreath, drop wearing earrings and necklace, no control symbol; reverse bull butting left, club left over IA (magistrate initials) above, IE (magistrate initials) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $75.00 SALE |PRICE| $67.00










REFERENCES|

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