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

Octopuses on Ancient Coins
Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Second| |Democracy,| |466| |-| |405| |B.C.||litra|
The style of the obverse die closely resembles coins signed by Phrygillos, especially his signed bronzes and tetradrachms such as Tudeer 5.
SH16523. Silver litra, SNG ANS 282, SNG Cop 676, gVF, weight 0.740 g, maximum diameter 11.0 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣION, head of nymph Arethusa right, hair bound in sphendone, dolphins around; reverse octopus; lightly toned, flan crack, some porosity, ex CNG; SOLD


Akragas, Sicily, c. 420 - 406 B.C.

|Akragas|, |Akragas,| |Sicily,| |c.| |420| |-| |406| |B.C.||hemilitron|
On similar common types, the eagle is right, sometimes devouring the fish, and on the reverse the positions of octopus and conch are switched. This particular type with the eagle screaming left and the octopus to the left the conch is missing from all the references examined (Calciati, HGC 2, SNG ANS, SNG Cop, SNG Munchen, SNG Tubingen, SNG Lloyd, BMC Sicily, McClean, Weber, et al.). This coin is the only example on Coin Archives (the Savoca auction).
GB86317. Bronze hemilitron, apparently unpublished; Calciati 47 var. (conch to left); HGC 2 135 (R1) corr. (same obv. die but text says eagle right) var. (conch to left), VF, well centered, some porosity, reverse slightly rough, weight 21.219 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 90o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 420 - 406 B.C.; obverse AKP-AΓANTIN-ON, eagle standing left on fish, raising head up screaming, wings open; reverse crab from above, eel in right claw, octopus to left of conch shell below, six pellets around; ex Savoca Numismatik, auction 4 (30 Aug 2015), lot 176; extremely rare variety; SOLD


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Dionysius| |I,| |405| |-| |367| |B.C.||tetras|
"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
GI88920. 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 -, Choice gVF, fine classical style, well centered and struck, slight roughness, weight 2.041 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa facing slightly left, wearing necklace, no signature visible; reverse octopus; SOLD


Eryx, Sicily, c. 400 - 340 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Eryx,| |Sicily,| |c.| |400| |-| |340| |B.C.||onkia|
Eryx stood on the summit of an isolated mountain at the north-west extremity of Sicily. Calciati notes, "There are considerable variations in the minting technique of these small bronzes. Besides coins which have been struck in pairs with pronounced tangs cut by shears there are blanks with rounded edges and truncated-conic ones. A common feature is an imperfect technique, which is otherwise justified by the fact that these small coins were produced for local needs." This Eryx type is similar to an issue from Syracuse but struck with crude dies on crude flans.
SH63885. Bronze onkia, Calciati I p. 287, 24; SNG ANS -, VF, weight 1.315 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 180o, Eryx (Erice, Sicily) mint, c. 400 B.C.; obverse female head right; reverse octopus; scarce; SOLD


Eryx, Sicily, 400 - 340 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Eryx,| |Sicily,| |400| |-| |340| |B.C.||AE| |13|
Eryx stood on the summit of an isolated mountain at the north-west extremity of Sicily. Calciati notes, "There are considerable variations in the minting technique of these small bronzes. Besides coins [such as our coin] which have been struck in pairs with pronounced tangs cut by shears (N. 19/1) there are blanks with rounded edges and truncated-conic ones. A common feature is an imperfect technique, which is otherwise justified by the fact that these small coins were produced for local needs."
GB27231. Bronze AE 13, Calciati I, p. 287, 24; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Munchen -, F, weight 1.361 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, Eryx (Erice, Sicily) mint, 400 - 340 B.C.; obverse female head right; reverse octopus; more attractive examples of this type are rare; scarce; SOLD







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