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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Dolphin||View Options:  |  |  |   

Dolphins on Ancient Coins

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

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reins in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $1900.00 (€1672.00)
 


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.
SH89722. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XX, 698 (V344/R476); SNG ANS 233 (same dies); BMC Sicily p. 161, 115 (same); Weber 1592 (same); HGC 2 1322 (S), VF, elegant nymph well centered on a tight flan, obverse strike weak and crowded by tight flan, weight 16.854 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 425 - 420 B.C.; obverse male charioteer driving a walking quadriga to right, wearing a long chiton, goad in his right hand, reins in both hands, Nike above flying left to crown the charioteer; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION upward on right, Head of Arethusa right, her hair in a sakkos and an ampyx, bound with olive-wreath and a double decorated fillet, wearing earring and a necklace with a lion's head, four dolphins swimming around; scarce; $1260.00 (€1108.80)
 


Sinope, Paphlagonia, c. 330 - 300 B.C.

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Long used as a Hittite port, Sinope was re-founded as a Greek colony by Miletus in the 7th century B.C. Sinope flourished as the Black Sea port of a caravan route that led from the upper Euphrates valley. The city escaped Persian domination until the early 4th century B.C. In 183 B.C. it was captured by Pharnaces I and became the capital of the kingdom of Pontus. Lucullus conquered Sinope for Rome in 70 B.C., and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony there, Colonia Julia Felix, in 47 B.C. It remained with the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines). It was a part of the Empire of Trebizond from the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 until the capture of the city by the Seljuk Turks of Rûm in 1214.
SH91741. Silver drachm, SNG BM 1481; SNG Stancomb 770; SNG Pontus p. 97, 13 ff. var. (magistrate); SNG Cop 284 f. var. (same); HGC 7 399 (S), VF, centered on a tight flan, porous, dark areas, weight 4.748 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Sinope (Sinop, Turkey) mint, c. 330 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, hair in sakkos, wearing triple pendant earring and necklace; reverse eagle left with dolphin left in talons, AΓPEΩΣ (magistrate) below wing, ΣINΩ below dolphin; scarce; $470.00 (€413.60)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Alexander IV, c. 323 - 311 B.C.

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Struck after Alexander's death, under either Perdikkas or Antipater, regents during the joint reign of Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother, Philip III, and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule. Both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Olympias had Philip murdered to ensure the succession of her grandson. But Alexander IV would never rule. In 311 B.C., he and his mother Roxana were executed by the regent Kassander.
GS87631. Silver tetradrachm, Price 133; Müller Alexander 542; SNG Alpha Bank 514; SNG Saroglos 253; SNG Cop 688; SNG München 293; Ehrhardt Amphipolis 15, VF, excellent centering, light rose toning, light bumps and marks, weight 16.960 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Amphipolis mint, c. 316 - c. 311 A.D.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, right leg forward (archaic lifetime style), nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward behind, dolphin head down left, Πo under throne; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysios I, c. 405 - 367 B.C.

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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.
GS86597. Silver hemilitron, SNG ANS 301; SNG Cop 669; SNG Lloyd 1379; BMC Sicily p. 182, 237; Boehringer Münzprägungen pl. II, 19; HGC 2 1392 (R2) , VF, dark toning, light marks and corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.434 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 395 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, wearing drop earring, hair bound in ampyx and sphendone, no control symbol or signature; reverse four-spoked wheel, SY-PA in upper quarters, two dolphins heads downward nose to nose in lower quarters; very rare; $270.00 (€237.60)
 


Istros, Thrace, c. 313 - 280 B.C.

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The obverse type has been variously interpreted as representing the Dioscuri, the rising and setting sun, and the two branches of the river Danube. - Greek Coins and Their Values by David Sear

GS92970. Silver stater, Dima subgroup IV, 4, pl. XI, 5 ff.; AMNG I 417; SNG Stancomb 147; SNG BM 247; BMC Thrace p. 25, 6, VF, attractive style, light iridescent toning, flow lines, light bumps and marks, small scrape on rev., rev. slightly off center, weight 5.469 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, Istros (near Istria, Romania) mint, c. 313 - 280 B.C.; obverse two facing male heads, left head inverted; reverse IΣTPIH, sea-eagle left grasping a dolphin left with talons, no pellets below eagle, AΓ (control) monogram below dolphin; $270.00 (€237.60)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Perinthus, Thrace

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The style and find location indicate the origin of this coin at Perinthus, Thrace. All the Roman bronze types of Nero from Perinthus are rare.
RP91191. Bronze as, RIC I p. 186 - 187; RPC I 1760 (discussion on p. 318); BMCRE I 391 note, pl. 48, 11; Mac Dowall WCN p. 245, 1 (Moesia), Tooling and smoothing on the reverse, weight 9.331 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 0o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, obverse NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM P M, laureate head right; reverse Neptune standing left, dolphin in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Taras, Calabria, c. 390 - 380 B.C.

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Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nullified and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthus, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
GI92390. Silver nomos, Fischer-Bossert 381 (V168/R269); Vlasto 362; SNG BnF 1712; SNG Cop 807; HN Italy 870, HGC 1 768 (R1), F, bold strike, toned, bumps and marks, die wear, weight 7.815 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 270o, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 390 - 380 B.C.; obverse nude youth on horse galloping right, holding reins with both hands, radiating hair, linear border; reverse Taras astride dolphin left, akrostolion in extended right hand, left hand on dolphin, signature H on dolphin (below Taras' thigh), TAPAΣ below, linear border; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 47 (28 Jun 2018), lot 31; rare; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Phoenicia, Tyre, c. 425 - 333 B.C.

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GS93072. Silver 1/24th shekel, Elayi 1722, HGC 10 337 (R2), VF, dark find patina, weight 0.315 g, maximum diameter 7.1 mm, die axis 270o, Tyre mint, c. 425 - 333 B.C; obverse dolphin left; reverse ram head left; ex Triskeles auction 28 (21 Jun 2019), lot 77; very rare; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


Istros, Thrace, c. 311 - 240 B.C.

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The obverse type has been variously interpreted as representing the Dioscuri, the rising and setting sun, and the two branches of the river Danube. - Greek Coins and Their Values by David Sear
MA93725. Silver 1/4 drachm, cf. SNG BM 258; BMC Thrace p. 26, 13; AMNG I 446.3; SNG Stancomb 143, F, well centered, light toning, light marks, light surface etching, weight 0.8657 g, maximum diameter 11.0 mm, Istros (near Istria, Romania) mint, c. 311 - 240 B.C.; obverse two facing male heads, right head inverted; reverse IΣTPIH, sea-eagle left grasping a dolphin left with talons; $145.00 (€127.60)




  



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