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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ DolphinView 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; $2040.00 (€1795.20)
 


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; $1400.00 (€1232.00)
 


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; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


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)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, 525 - 475 B.C.

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Unpublished in the major references and collections but more than a dozen specimens are known from auctions. An electrum 1/12 stater with the same dolphin over tunny type is published for Kyzikos (Boston MFA 1409; BMC Mysia p. 19, 13).
GS91171. Silver obol, Von Fritze I -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tübingen -, BMC Mysia -, Rosen -, Klein -, VF, toned, light bumps and marks marks, weight 0.869 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 525 - 475 B.C.; obverse dolphin left, tunny left below; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ; rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, c. 415 B.C.

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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 we cannot see a signature on this coin, the style appears to be that of Phrygillos.
GI88103. Bronze hemilitron, cf. Calciati II p. 47, 19; SNG ANS 412; BMC Sicily p. 182, 243; SNG Cop 696; SGCV I 1186; HGC 2 1479 (S), VF, earthen encrustation, weight 3.738 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 90o, 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; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 275 B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Megara had 23,456 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
GB85880. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BCD Peloponnesos 9.2 ff. (various symbols below); BMC Attica p. 120, 26 (dolphin below); HGC 4 1797; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 2.829 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, c. 370 - 275 B.C.; obverse prow of galley left, uncertain symbol (cuttlefish, prawn, dolphin, or club?) below; reverse two dolphins swimming clockwise around MEΓ, all within dotted border; ex J. Cohen Collection; $75.00 (€66.00)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 317 - 270 B.C.

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Before it was refounded as Neapolis (meaning "new city"), Naples was called Parthenope, named for the daughter of the river-god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore. Parthenope cast herself into the sea and drowned when her songs failed to entice Odysseus. Her body washed ashore at Naples. When people from the city of Cumae settled there, they named their city Parthenope in her honor. Roman myth tells a different tale, in which a centaur called Vesuvius was enamored with Parthenope. In jealousy, Zeus turned the centaur into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Thwarted in his desire, Vesuvius's anger is manifested in the mountain's frequent eruptions.
GB85093. Bronze AE 12, Potamikon 295, Sambon 581, Taliercio IId 1, SNG ANS 435, aVF, dark toning, nice style, reverse off center, bumps scratches, tiny pitting, weight 1.524 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, 317/310 - 270 B.C.; obverse NEOΠOΛITΩN, head of Apollo right; reverse forepart of Acheloios Sebethos as a man-faced bull right, dolphin swimming right above; from the Molinari Collection; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Castulo, Hispania Ulterior, c. 165 - 80 B.C.

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After a local princess named Himilce married Hannibal, Castulo allied with Carthage. In 213 B.C., Castulo was the site of Hasdrubal Barca's crushing victory over the Roman army with a force of roughly 40,000 Carthaginian troops plus local Iberian mercenaries. Soon after the Romans made a pact with the residents and the city became a foederati (ally) of Rome.
GB88984. Bronze as, Villaronga-Benages 2133; Villaronga p. 334, 30; SNG BM Spain 1311; Burgos 699; SNG Cop -, VF, attractive style, green patina, strike a little weak, ragged irregularly shaped flan, a few flan flaws (pits), weight 13.380 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Castulo mint, c. 165 - 80 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, dolphin before swimming upward; reverse helmeted sphinx walking right, left foreleg raised, star before, KASTILO in Iberic script below exergue line; ex Sayles & Lavender; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Mygissos, Caria, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Many Greek cities had names beginning MY, and this type has been attributed to many of them. Mygissos is most likely correct because nearby Nisyros issued coins with a very similar reverse with NI above the dolphin.
GB67788. Bronze chalkous, SNG München 335 (MY...), SNG Cop 1022 (Myus), SNGvA 2114 (Myus), SNG Tüb 3115 (Myus), SNG Keckman 235 (Myndos?), SNG Kayhan 847 (Myndos), F, weight 1.655 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 0o, Mygissos mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Poseidon right; reverse dolphin right, MY above, trident right below; very rare; $60.00 (€52.80)
 




  



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