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SICILY, Entella. Punic issues. Circa 407-398 BC. AR Tetradrachm (25mm, 16.88 g, 5h). Forepart of horse left; above, Nike flying left, crowning horse with wreath held in both hands; grain ear to left / Palm tree with two date clusters; QRTHDŠ[T] (in Punic) below. Jenkins, Punic 32 (O8/R31); CNP 641; HGC 2, 262; SNG Fitzwilliam 1473 (same dies); SNG Lloyd 1607 (same obv. die); de Luynes 1432 (same dies). Good VF, toned, slightly off center.

Ex Noble 64A (12 July 2000), lot 2426; Vecchi 16 (9 October 1999), lot 84.

In the final decade of the fifth century BC, the Carthaginians launched a series of invasions of Sicily, conquering much of the western half of the island and bringing devastation to many formerly flourishing Greek communities. The Punic presence lasted for a century and a half, until Rome's victory in the First Punic War obliged the Carthaginians to withdraw. During their time of occupation, the Carthaginians struck an extensive coinage in Sicily for the purpose of financing their military operations and the maintenance of garrisons. The obverse and reverse types of the series are mostly influenced by Sicilian prototypes, particularly those of Syracuse, except for the later series with the head of Herakles on the obverse, which was obviously influenced by the well-recognized coinage of Alexander the Great. While a few of the series are struck at cities with established mints, such as Motya and Panormos, these are often viewed as minor or campaign mints that operated for a short duration. The location of the primary Punic mint (or mints) on Sicily, responsible for the large issues studied by G.K. Jenkins (‘Carthage’ series I-V), has been the subject of great debate. Most recently, I. Lee surveyed the existing literature and took a fresh look at the full spectrum of evidence, persuasively concluding that this mint was located at Entella (“Entella: The Silver Coinage of the Campanian Mercenaries and the First Carthaginian Mint 410-409 BC” in NC 160 [2000], pp. 1-66).