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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

247, Lot: 11. Estimate $400.
Sold for $900. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Messana. 480-478 BC. AR Drachm (15mm, 3.71 g, 10h). Charioteer, holding kentron and reins, driving biga of mules right / Hare springing right. Caltabiano 45 (D21/R23); SNG ANS -; SNG Fitzwilliam 1071 (same dies). VF, toned, light cleaning marks under tone. Very rare.

Ex Lanz 56 (13 May 1991), lot 53; Schweizerische Kreditanstalt 2 (27 April 1984), lot 95.

This coin is from the first issue of drachms at Messana, although an earlier issue was struck when the city was named Zankle. Zankle had been captured by the tyrant Anaxilas of Rhegion, who renamed the city Messana, and adopted his types to her coinage (which were also the types at Rhegion). The chariot scene is thought to refer to the victory of Anaxilas' mule cart at the Olympic games of 480 BC. The origin of the hare type is uncertain, though it is thought that Anaxilas introduced the animal to Sicily. Though the types at Rhegion changed following Anaxilas' death, the types at Messana continued to be used on all precious metal coinage for the remainder of the Classical period.