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Sale 72

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Lot 4012

Sicily, Catana / Katane. Silver Tetradrachm (17.0g) struck ca. 410-403 BC. Obverse die signed by Herakleidas. HPAKΛEIΔAΣ. Laureate head of Apollo facing, inclined slightly to left, his hair in curls fanning out around his head. Reverse: KATANAIΩN. Fast quadriga left; above, Nike (Victory) right descending to crown charioteer; in exergue, fish left. Dewing 586 = Jameson 546 (same dies); Rizzo 11. Delicately toned. An incredible masterpiece. Extremely Fine.

This masterpiece of late fifth century Greek Sicilian numismatic art bears the full signature of the artist Herakleidas.

The frontal portrait of Apollo, showing his hair in a rich profusion of loose curls, is accompanied on the reverse by a depiction of a victorious charioteer crowned by Nike (Victory). This motif had been typical of Sicilian tetradrachms from the time of Gelon, tyrant of Gela and later of Syrakuse (died 478 BC), and doubtless had its origin in Gelon's success in the chariot races at the Olympian games of 488 BC. Catana / Katane (modern Catania) was a Chalcidian city colonized by Naxos in 729 BC and lay at the southern extremity of the slopes of Mount Aetna. Between 476 and 461 BC, the city actually bore the name of Aetna following its capture by Hieron of Syrakuse.

The remarkable tetradrachm issued at this time, represented by a unique specimen in Brussels, is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of late Archaic Greek art. The silver coinage of Katane/Catana came to an abrupt end in 404 BC when the city was again captured by the Syrakusans and its population sold into slavery.
Estimated Value $40,000 - 60,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex Giessener Münzhandlung 50, 24 September 1990, lot 144; Lanz 24, 25 April 1983, lot 83.

Realized $35,650

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