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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Spectacular Carthage Dekadrachm

Triton XXII, Lot: 158. Estimate $50000.
Sold for $80000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Uncertain Punic mint. First Punic War. Circa 264-241 BC. AR 5 Shekels – Dekadrachm (38mm, 37.72 g, 11h). Head of Tanit left, wearing wreath of grain ears and single-pendant earring / Pegasos flying right; Punic B'RŠT (= “In the land”) below. Jenkins, Punic, Series 6, 445 (O4/R14); Jenkins & Lewis pl. 27, 2; CNP 350; HGC 2, 1664; SNG Fitzwilliam 1512 (same dies); SNG Lloyd 1665 (same dies); Kraay & Hirmer 211 (same obv. die). EF, minor die rust. Well centered. Spectacular and impressive.

Ex Osaka Collection, formed prior to 2000.

Although since the late 6th century BC relations between Rome and Carthage had always been maintained on a friendly basis, Rome's growing influence in Magna Graecia in the early decades of the third century BC led inevitably to an increasing rivalry between the two powers. The Italian state was being drawn inexorably into the bitter politics of the centuries-old dispute between Greeks and Carthaginians in Sicily. This magnificent medallic piece was issued at about the time of the outbreak of the First Punic War which, after almost a quarter of a century of fighting, was to bring about the end of the Carthaginian presence on the island. Find spots for these coins have been exclusively Sicilian, and they were presumably struck for military purposes. Although horses had always been popular on Carthaginian and Siculo-Punic issues, the depiction of the winged Pegasos represented a departure from tradition. The influence of the Corinthian coinage and that of her colony Syracuse seems obvious. The typically enigmatic Punic inscription translates “in the land,” and the Carthaginian stronghold of Panormos on the north coast of western Sicily has been suggested as the mint for this impressive series.