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Research Coins: Printed Auction

Triton XXII, Lot: 114. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $20000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Gela. Circa 480/75-475/70 BC. AR Tetradrachm (24mm, 17.31 g, 7h). Charioteer, holding kentron in left hand and reins in right, driving quadriga right; above, Nike flying right, crowning horses with open wreath held in both hands / Forepart of bearded man-headed bull (river god) right; CEΛAΣ above; all within shallow incuse circle. Jenkins, Gela, Group II, 172 (O46/R101); HGC 2, 338; SNG ANS 38 (same dies); SNG Lockett 749 (same dies); Nanteuil 279 (same dies). EF, appealing even gray tone with light golden hues. Well struck on a round flan. One of the finest Gela tetradrachms on the market in recent years.

From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group 87 (18 May 2011), lot 207; Tkalec (8 September 2008), lot 11.

Situated on the southern coast of Sicily, Gela was founded in 688 BC by Cretans and Rhodians. By the turn of the 5th century BC, it rose to become the most influential state on the island. In 485 BC its ruler, Gelon, seized Syracuse and transferred his capital there, taking with him many of the leading citizens of the city. His brother Hieron, later tyrant Hieron I of Syracuse, was left in charge of Gela. Tetradrachms were first struck at Gela circa 480/75 BC, shortly thereafter becoming the principal denomination of the Geloan coinage, and remaining so down to the time of the destruction of the city by Carthaginian invaders in 405 BC. The ultimate design of the tetradrachms was a racing chariot, borrowed from the Syracusan coinage, and the forepart of a man-headed bull. The rather brutal half-length figure of the man-headed bull is based on the 'father of all rivers', Acheloös, and is clearly identified by the ethnic Gelas as the personification of the river Gelas rushing to its mouth, where the city of Gela stood. It was mentioned by Virgil (Aen. 3, 702) as 'immanisque Gela fluvii cognomine dicta' (and Gela named after its impetuous river).