Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 72

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Lot 4010

Sicily, Himera. Silver Tetradrachm (17.29g) struck ca. 409-407 BC. Obverse die signed by the artist Mai…. Himera driving fast quadriga right, holding reins in both hands, her team unruly; above, Nike (Victory) flying left, holding a wreath and a tablet inscribed MAI. Reverse: Himera standing facing, head left, wearing long chiton and peplos, sacrificing with a patera over a horned altar, her left hand raised; to right, satyr three-quarters right bathing in a fountain below a lion-headed spout. Arnold-Biucchi, 22; Gutmann-Schwabacher 20; Rizzo pl. 21, 23; Basel 306; Kraay-Hirmer 71. Slight double striking on reverse. Lustrous. Nearly Mint State.

Probably representing the final issue of Himera prior to the destruction of the city by the Carthaginians in 409/408 BC, this tetradrachm bears the abbreviated name of the artist responsible for the dies, as was the case with many of the late fifth century Sicilian coins. The Carthaginians felt a special enmity towards the Himeraeans, as the city had been the scene of the famous defeat of Hamilcar's invasion of 480 BC launched in response to a request from the deposed Himeraean tyrant Terillus. This pivotal Greek success had been commemorated by the construction of a fine hexastyle Doric temple at Himera, the remains of which were excavated in 1929-30. Notable among the surviving architectural elements of the building were fifty-six beautiful lion-head waterspouts, which may help to explain a curious element of the reverse design: to the right of the standing figure of the nymph Himera, a naked satyr is shown bathing under a fountain in the form of a lion's head.

Following the disaster of 409/408 BC those citizens who had survived the destruction of Himera were permitted by the Carthaginians to move several miles to the west where there were hot springs. Here they established a new settlement, appropriately named Thermae Himeraeae. Ironically, this city was to be the birthplace of Agathokles, later tyrant of Syrakuse and champion of the Greek cause against the Carthaginians.
Estimated Value $7,000 - 10,000.
The Hunter Collection; Hand selected from the hoard in the 1980s by Numismatic Fine Arts.

Realized $7,188

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