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Sale 72

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Lot 4013

Sicily, Catana / Katane. Silver Tetradrachm (16.4g) struck ca. 405-402 BC. Obverse die signed by Herakleidas. HPAKΛ[EIΔAΣ]. Laureate head of Apollo facing, inclined slightly to left, his hair in loose waves around his face. Reverse: [KA]TANAIΩ[N]. Fast quadriga left, the third horse looking back, the fourth looking to its right; above, Nike (Victory) flying right to crown charioteer; in exergue (off-flan), fish left. Kraay-Hirmer 43 (same dies); Rizzo pl. xiv, 10 (same dies) Gulbenkian 190 (same dies). A little rough at 6 o'clock and 11 o'clock on the reverse. The obverse is exceptionally clean. Extremely Fine/Very Fine.

This is considered to be the most attractive of the two dies Herakleidas cut for Katane. The facing head of Apollo is engraved with extraordinary skill in extremely high relief. A true masterpiece of Greek art.

In the last decade of the fifth Century BC, the Second Sicilian War began to embroil the island. Sicily would be torn asunder for many years as Carthage and Syrakuse each sought domination. As if in defiance of the sword, spear and fire and in celebration of the vitality of the island and its cities, this time marks the beginning of one of the most creative and artistic periods of Greek coinage. In Katane, this period is heralded by the remarkable tetradrachms of Herakleidas. Bringing Apollo to the obverse and tilting his head only slighty to the left, Herakleidas depicts him with wide piercing eyes and a strong gaze. The viewer is, indeed, brought face to face with a god. Herakleidas then skillfully tempers Apollo's arresting gaze, for one should not stare directly at a god (partially done by Apollo's slight turn to the left), with flowing locks of hair. On the reverse, he offers the viewer the fluid motion of the horses and the drama of each with the realistic bending of the charioteer's body to control these elemental forces.
Estimated Value $30,000 - 40,000.
The Hunter Collection, Ex Christie's May 2, 1989, lot 627 (front cover) realized $49,500.

Realized $29,900

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