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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Among the Finest and of Exquisite Style

Triton XXII, Lot: 116. Estimate $15000.
Sold for $27500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Kamarina. Circa 425-405 BC. AR Tetradrachm (24.5mm, 17.46 g, 4h). Athena, wearing crested Attic helmet and long chiton, holding kentron in right hand and reins in both, driving galloping quadriga right; above, Nike flying left, preparing to crown Athena with wreath held in both hands; in exergue, two amphorai dividing [K]AM-A-PINA / Beardless head of Herakles left, wearing lion skin headdress tied at neck; bow to left. Westermark & Jenkins 152 (O10/R19); HGC 2, 526; SNG Fitzwilliam 945 (same dies); SNG Stockholm 431 = Pozzi 400 (same dies); Athena Fund I 1 (this coin); BMC 13 (same dies); Gillet 368 = Rizzo pl. V, 15 (same dies); Jameson 525a (same dies); Weber 1246 (same dies). Near EF, toned. Struck in high relief from dies of fine style, one of the finest specimens.

From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Triton XIX (5 January 2016), lot 32; Münzen und Medaillen AG 89 (14 June 2000), lot 38; Athena Fund (Part 1, Sotheby’s Zurich, 26 October 1993), lot 1; Numismatic Fine Arts XXVII (4 December 1991), lot 11.

Originally founded by settlers from Syracuse in 598 BC, Kamarina was dependent upon its relations with its mother-city for much of its history. A revolt in 553 BC left the city devastated and partly abandoned, until 492 BC, when the expansionist tyrant Hippokrates of Gela was granted the site in return for a peace treaty with Syracuse. Hippokrates re-founded the city a second time with groups of mercenaries from his many wars across Sicily, and Kamarina became a source for new recruits. It is believed that this is the time of the first coinage of Kamarina, with its martial design of a panoply of arms. The first period of coinage ended in 484 BC, when Hippokrates' successor Gelon forcibly relocated its residents to Syracuse. Kamarina was re-founded a third time in 461 BC, by settlers from Gela and, at least until the 420s BC, the city remained attached to its parent-city. During this period, Kamarina rebuilt its akropolis defenses, public buildings, and road system. At least one athlete from the city, Psaumis, was victorious at the Olympics, a feat celebrated in Pindar’s fourth and fifth Olympian odes. At the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, Kamarina did side with Athens, although a strong pro-Spartan faction remained in the city. In 427 BC, Laches, who had been sent from Athens with a fleet for the purpose of bringing Sicily into the war, tried to elicit the support of Kamarina with a naval treaty, but the stipulation that allowed for only one Athenian ship at a time shows that Kamarina was less than enthusiastic about supporting Athens. During this period, Kamarina had taken Morgantina and in 424 BC received legal right to it as part of a peace treaty with Gela. Two years later, along with Akragas, Kamarina gave Athens a favorable anti-Spartan response when Athens again tried to elicit support in Sicily. Between 422 BC and 415 BC, both Athens and Syracuse pressured Kamarina, which remained neutral, for support. As Syracuse was becoming the leading power on the island, when troops from Sparta arrived there in 413 BC, Kamarina offered 500 hoplites and 300 javelin throwers as support. Soon, however, the Athenian threat was replaced by one from Carthage which, between 409 BC and 405 BC, conquered or destroyed the cities of Selinos, Himera, Akragas, and Gela. While preparing for a defense of Gela and a potential attack on Kamarina, the Syracusans compelled the citizens of Kamarina to evacuate to Syracuse. The city virtually ceased to exist until Timoleon re-founded it a fourth time in 399 BC.