Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 72

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Lot 4021

Sicily, Syrakuse. Dionysios I, 406-367 BC. Silver Dekadrachm (43.15g) struck ca. 405-400 BC. A magnificent product of the master die engraver. Signed twice by Kimon. Fast quadriga left, the female charioteer wearing long chiton and holding kentron in her right hand, reins in her left; above, Nike (Victory) flying right to crown charioteer; in exergue, shield, cuirass flanked by greaves, and crested Attic helmet arrayed on a horizontal step, upon which is inscribed AΘΛA. Reverse: ΣYPAKOΣIΩ. Head of Arethusa left, hair bound by ampyx inscribed K and netted sphendone, wearing single-pendant earring and beaded necklace; around, four dolphins; that below neck truncation, inscribed KIMON. Jongkees 3 (A/γ; same dies); SNG Lockett 988 (same dies); McClean 2734 (same dies). Cf. The Millennia Collection, Lot 12 (same dies). Fine die crack vertically through eye, as is usual with this die. Lightly toned. Extremely Fine.

Long considered the masterpiece of Greek coinage.

The classic elegance of Kimon's interpretation of the head of the fountain nymph Arethusa is shown to full advantage on this superbly preserved medallic dekadrachm of the late fifth century BC. The master engraver's signature appears twice on this reverse die, once as an initial on the ampyx above the nymph's forehead and again, in full, on the dolphin below the truncation. Kimon's dekadrachms are often dated a little earlier than those of Euainetos. In reality, they are probably contemporary with the latter's initial issues, but their production did not extend over as many years.

The typical victorious charioteer theme of the obverse appears to take on a new meaning in this series with the addition of the inscription AΘΛA (prizes) in minute lettering on the step supporting the array of arms. The victory in this case has a military rather than an agonistic connotation and presumably refers to the spoils of war during the protracted struggle with the Carthaginians. Another possible interpretation of the inferred military success is the famous Syrakusan victory over the Athenians in 413 BC.
Estimated Value $100,000 - 125,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex Numismatic Fine Arts XXX, December 8, 1992, lot 21.

Realized $126,500

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