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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.

Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron I, c. 478 - 467 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Hieron| |I,| |c.| |478| |-| |467| || |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
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)


Katane, Sicily, c. 415 - 404 B.C.

|Katane|, |Katane,| |Sicily,| |c.| |415| |-| |404| |B.C.||tetras|NEW
Katane was captured by Dionysios of Syracuse in 403 B.C., who sold the population into slavery and resettled the city with Campanian mercenaries. The city submitted to Rome during the First Punic war.
GI96877. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 91, 1; SNG ANS 1272; BMC Sicily p. 50, 51; HGC 2 607 (S); SNG Cop -; SNG Mun -, VF, nice green patina, attractive style, centered on a tight flan, light marks, scattered small pits, weight 1.668 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 270o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 415 - 404 B.C.; obverse AMENANOΣ (clockwise on left), young head of river-god Amenanos left, with horns and wavy hair; reverse winged thunderbolt, wings open, K-A flanking under wings, three small pellets around (two above wings, one right); scarce; $260.00 (€213.20)


Messana, Sicily, The Mamertini, 220 - 200 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |The| |Mamertini,| |220| |-| |200| |B.C.||pentachalkia|NEW
Mamertini or "Children of Mars" were a band of Campanian (or Samnite) mercenaries who, about 289 B.C., seized Messana at the north-east corner of Sicily, after having been hired by Agathocles to defend it. The Mamertines held Messana for over 20 years, converting it from a town of farmers and traders to a raiding base for pirates on land and sea. In 265 B.C., after Hiero of Syracuse had defeated them and besieged Messana, the Mamertines appealed to Carthage for aid. Soon after they appealed to Rome to rid them of the Carthaginians. The Mamertini then disappear from history, except even centuries later the inhabitants of Messana were called Mamertines. "Mamertine wine" from the vineyards of north-eastern tip of Sicily was the favorite of Julius Caesar and he made it popular after serving it at a feast to celebrate his third consulship.
GI93812. Bronze pentachalkia, Calciati p, 104, 27; SNG ANS 432; SNG Munchen 707; SNG Cop 450; BMC Sicily p. 112, 37; HGC 2 851 (R1), F, green patina, porosity, area of corrosion on obverse, legend not fully struck, obverse edge beveled, small edge cracks, weight 8.686 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Messana (Messina, Sicily, Italy) mint, 220 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, long hair, kithara behind; reverse MAMEPTINΩN, warrior standing facing, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, sword in sheath with strap in right hand, inverted spear vertical in left hand, grounded shield leaning against spear, Π (mark of value) upper right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $130.00 (€106.60)


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Hieron| |II,| |c.| |275| |-| |215| |B.C.||hemilitron|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.
GI93459. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 351, 192 R1 4; BMC Sicily p. 219, 618; HGC 2 1469; SNG ANS 572 ff. var. (secondary control); SNG Cop 861 var. (obv. poppy head), gF, nice style, well centered, porosity, weight 5.387 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 275 - 269/5 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Persephone left, wearing earring and necklace, hair rolled and bound with barley wreath, no control symbol; reverse bull butting left, head turned facing, club over ∆ (secondary control) above, IE (primary control) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 (€98.40)


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

|Other| |Sicily|, |"Kainon,"| |Sicily,| |c.| |367| |-| |340| |B.C.||tetras|
This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI93805. Bronze tetras, Calciati I, p. 252, 10; SNG Cop 134 (Alaesa); SNG Munchen 218 (Alaisa); SNG ANS 1178 (Alaesa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 8 (Alaesa); HGC 2 509, aVF, dark green patina with earthen highlights, flatly struck, off center on a broad flan, edge splits, weight 9.623 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, grasshopper left below; reverse horse prancing left, loose reins flying behind, KAINON in exergue, star with eight rays around a central pellet above; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 (€98.40)


"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.
GI96890. 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, VF, green patina, rev. a little off center, cleaning marks, scattered light porosity, inscription very weak, pre-strike casting sprue remnant, weight 8.953 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, 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; ex Trusted Coins; $120.00 (€98.40)


"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.
GI96891. Bronze tetras, Calciati I, p. 252, 10; SNG Cop 134 (Alaesa); SNG Munchen 218 (Alaisa); SNG ANS 1178 (Alaesa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 8 (Alaesa); HGC 2 509, gF, green patina, rev. double struck, some porosity, pre-strike casting sprue remnants, weight 8.738 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, grasshopper left below; reverse horse prancing left, loose reins flying behind, KAINON in exergue, star with eight rays around a central pellet above; ex Trusted Coins; $120.00 (€98.40)


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |The| |Sileraioi,| |Sicily,| |c.| |357| |-| |330| |B.C.|
Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $110.00 (€90.20)


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Agathokles,| |317| |-| |289| |B.C.||litra|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.
GI93452. Bronze litra, cf. Calciati II p. 287, 150; BMC Sicily p. 196, 389; SNG ANS 740; SNG Cop 767 ff.; HGC 2 1465 (R1), aVF, well centered, a little rough, weight 8.083 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 305 - 295 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of young Herakles left, wearing taenia; reverse lion walking right, right foreleg raised, club right above; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 (€90.20)


Kamarina, Sicily, 339 - 300 B.C.

|Kamarina|, |Kamarina,| |Sicily,| |339| |-| |300| |B.C.||AE| |16|NEW
Kamarina was destroyed by Carthage in 405 B.C. In 396 B.C. the citizens who escaped returned, but only under Timoleon in 339 B.C. was the city reconstructed. A period of splendor ended with the sack by the Mamertines in 275 B.C. and destruction by the Romans in 258 B.C. The site was probably abandoned during the period of Augustus.
GI96860. Bronze AE 16, Westermark-Jenkins 208.6 (A/c); BMC Sicily p. 40, 43 (same dies); Calciati III, p. 69, 42/7 (same); SNG Cop 170 (same obv. die); HGC 2 555 (R1), F, green patina, well centered, porous, scratches, weight 2.878 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 180o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 339 - 300 B.C.; obverse KAMAPINAIΩN (clockwise on left), head of Athena left, in crested Athenian helmet; reverse horse prancing left, barley ear left in exergue; rare; $100.00 (€82.00)




  






REFERENCES|

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