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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Signed by Eumenes and Eukleidas

Triton XXII, Lot: 142. Estimate $20000.
Sold for $17000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Syracuse. Second Democracy. 466-405 BC. AR Tetradrachm (24mm, 17.37 g, 1h). Obverse die signed by Eumenes, reverse die signed by Eukleidas. Struck circa 415-409 BC. Charioteer, holding kentron in extended right hand and reins in left, driving fast quadriga left; above, Nike flying right, crowning charioteer with laurel wreath held in both hands; [E]-VMHNOV in exergue / Head of Arethousa left, wearing hoop earring and pearl necklace; [ΣYPAKOΣIOΣ above,] EVKΛ/EIΔA in two lines on diptych below chin, four dolphins swimming around. Fischer-Bossert, Coins 24a (V9/R16 – this coin); Tudeer 24; HGC 2, 1328; SNG ANS 259; SNG Lloyd 1368; BMC 193; Boston MFA 401–2 = Warren 371–2; Gillet 612; Hunterian 60; de Luynes 1207; Ognina 287; Rizzo pl. XLII, 13 (all from the same dies). Near EF, attractive even gray tone with light golden hues around the devices, a little die rust, minor lamination.

From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Gorny & Mosch 240 (10 October 2016), lot 39; Triton XIX (5 January 2016), lot 53; Künker 226 (11 March 2013), lot 242; Numismatica Ars Classica 64 (17 May 2012), lot 722; Numismatica Ars Classica 52 (7 October 2009), lot 75; LHS 102 (29 April 2008), lot 88; Numismatica Ars Classica 29 (11 May 2005), lot 115.

NOTE TO PRECEDE LOT: The magnificent artistic flowering in Sicily in the 5th century BC has its origins in times of great strife. When the first colonists from Greece arrived on the fertile island in the 8th century BC, they found competitors in both the aboriginal inhabitants (the Sicels, Sicani, and Elymi) and the Punic colonists who established Carthage at about the same time. The social stresses set up by these conflicts prepared the way for the establishment of tyrannies. Hippokrates of Gela was the first of the well-known tyrants, and his son Gelon founded the greatest of the Sicilian courts at Syracuse in 485 BC. By the middle of the century, the situation began to resemble that of Renaissance Italy, where local princes engaged in continual warfare among themselves while engaging the services of the finest artists and craftsmen of their time in order to promote their standing. Such fighting required significant amounts of money, and the increasing cultural sophistication of the courts encouraged experimentation in all of the arts, including coinage. The result was the patronizing of some of the most talented coin engravers in history. In Syracuse and surrounding cities, the anonymous "Demareteion Master" and the "Maestro della foglia" were followed by their students and successors who proudly signed their work; such artists as Choirion, Euainetos, Eumenos, Exakestidas, Herakleidas, Eukleidas, among others. These masters developed new ways of viewing the world through art, abandoning static representations in favor of new and dramatic methods of portraying motion and life in miniature. Although we find masters working on even the smallest of denominations, the creation of dies for silver tetradrachms preoccupied engravers, as this denomination was struck in large quantities to finance the operations of the Greek hegemons. Most remarkable of all were the large silver dekadrachms of Syracuse, which have become universal symbols of Greek numismatic art.