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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Pedigreed Carthage Dekadrachm

CNG 111, Lot: 78. Estimate $50000.
Sold for $55000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Uncertain Punic mint. First Punic War. Circa 264-241 BC. AR 5 Shekels – Dekadrachm (40mm, 37.84 g, 12h). 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, 452 (O5/R21 – this coin referenced); Jenkins & Lewis pl. 27, 2; CNP 350; HGC 2, 1664; SNG Lloyd 1665; SNG Stockholm 663 (same obv. die); Hirsch 1866 (same obv. die); Kraay & Hirmer 211. In NGC encapsulation, 2087781-001, graded XF(star), Strike: 5/5, Surface: 4/5, Fine Style. Well centered, with full legend visible.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 29 (11 May 2005), lot 143; Triton IV (5 December 2000), lot 126; Classical Numismatic Review XXIII.2 (Fall/Winter 1998), no. 17; Leu 72 (12 May 1998), lot 132; Harmer, Rooke (19 January 1978), lot 121 (and front cover).

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.