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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Fine Style Early Agathokles

Triton XXII, Lot: 155. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $20000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Syracuse. Agathokles. 317-289 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 17.04 g, 12h). Struck circa 310-306/5 BC. Head of Kore right, wearing wreath of grain ears, single-pendant earring, and pearl necklace; KOPAΣ to left / Nike standing right erecting trophy to right; AΓAΘOKΛEOΣ to left, triskeles to lower left, AI monogram in low central field. Ierardi 98 (O20/R59); BAR Issue 23; HGC 2, 1536; SNG München 1267 var. (position of triskeles; same obv. die); Gulbenkian 335/334 (same obv./rev. dies). EF, lightly toned, slight die shift on obverse. Struck from fresh dies. Fine style.

From the Gasvoda Collection. Ex Northern California Collection (Heritage 3044, 3 January 2016), lot 31007.

The Kore tetradrachms of Agathokles were struck following a major victory over Carthaginian forces outside the gates of Syracuse in 310 BC, which prompted him to name himself King of Sicily and adopt the style and trappings of a Hellenistic ruler. The reverse, depicting Nike erecting a trophy, proved highly influential and was widely copied by Greek kingdoms and Romans centuries hence; a near-contemporary issue of Seleukos I Nikator has a similar reverse design, though Nike is more demurely clothed. The Kore tetradrachms are found in two main varieties based on the engraving style, termed "Sicilian" and "African," although both were probably struck in Syracuse. This piece exemplifies the finest Sicilian style and is clearly the work of a master engraver.