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

Dolphins on Ancient Coins
Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron I, c. 478 - 467 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Hieron| |I,| |c.| |478| |-| |467| || |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Hieron I, the brother of Gelon, was tyrant of Syracuse, Sicily, 478 - 467 B.C. He greatly increased the power of Syracuse. He removed the inhabitants of Naxos and Catania to Leontini, peopled Catania (which he renamed Aetna) with Dorians. He defeated the Etruscans and Carthaginians at the Battle of Cumae (474 B.C.), by which he saved the Greeks of Campania from Etruscan domination. He was a liberal patron of literature and culture. He established the first secret police in Greek history. He was an active participant in panhellenic athletic contests, winning several horse and chariot races. He died at Catania in 467 and was buried there. His grave was destroyed when the former inhabitants of Catania returned.
SH98005. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer series XI, 244 (V110/R165); HGC 2 1307, aVF, centered on a tight flan, toned, light deposits, scratches and marks, uneven strike, die wear, pre-strike casting sprues, weight 17.379 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, c. 475 - 470 B.C.; obverse slow quadriga driven right by bearded male charioteer, kentron in right hand and reins in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣVRAKOΣION (clockwise on right), head of Arethousa right, hair turned up in a krobylos, wearing a pearl diadem earring and necklace, four dolphins around; from the CEB Collection, ex Frank L. Kovacs; $1250.00 (1025.00)


Lampsakos, Mysia, c. Late 3rd Century B.C.

|Lampsakos|, |Lampsakos,| |Mysia,| |c.| |Late| |3rd| |Century| |B.C.||AE| |13|NEW
From the Errett Bishop Collection.

Lampsakos was founded by Greek colonists from Phocaea in the 6th century B.C. Soon afterward it became a main competitor of Miletus, controlling the trade roots in the Dardanelles. During the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., Lampsacus was successively dominated by Lydia, Persia, Athens, and Sparta. Artaxerxes I assigned it to Themistocles with the expectation that the city supply the Persian king with its famous wine. When Lampsacus joined the Delian League after the battle of Mycale in 479 B.C., it paid a tribute of twelve talents, a testimony to its wealth.
GB93592. Bronze AE 13, cf. Baldwin Lampsakos plate IX 19-21; BMC Mysia p. 85, 65, Weber 5123, gF, rough green patina, scratches, weight 1.701 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 90o, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, c. late 3rd century B.C.; obverse laureate bearded head Poseidon right; reverse ΛAM, forepart of Pegasos right, dolphin right below; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $150.00 (123.00)


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Agathokles,| |317| |-| |289| |B.C.||AE| |17|
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.
GI96864. Bronze AE 17, Calciati II p. 225, 99 R41; cf. BMC Sicily p. 195, 370 (controls); SNG ANS 603 (controls); HGC 2 1489, SNG Cop -, aVF, beautiful style, nice green patina, some corrosion/pitting, earthen deposits, light marks, edge crack, weight 3.403 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 317 - 310 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Kore left, wreathed with grain, wreath (control symbol) behind neck; reverse bull butting left, dolphin above, monogram in wreath (control) in exergue; $130.00 (106.60)


Olbia, Sarmatia, c. 5th Century B.C.

|Olbia|, |Olbia,| |Sarmatia,| |c.| |5th| |Century| |B.C.||cast| |dolphin|
Small cast dolphins were cast in Olbia, beginning 550 - 525 B.C., first as sacrificial objects for worship of Apollo and later as a form of currency.
GA96585. Bronze cast dolphin, cf. SNG BM 369 ff., SNG Stancomb 339, SNG Pushkin 21 ff., SNG Cop 69 (all with normal ΘY reverse); 0.828g, 17.4mm long, VF, green patina, earthen encrustations, nose chipped, Olbia (Parutino, Ukraine) mint, c. 5th Century B.C.; obverse dolphin with raised dorsal fin, no tail; reverse YΘ (retrograde ΘY); very rare with retrograde reverse; $85.00 (69.70)







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