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Ex White King & Warren Collections


SICILY, Entella. Punic issues. Circa 320/15-300 BC. AR Tetradrachm (25.5mm, 16.80 g, 5h). Head of Arethousa left, wearing wreath of grain ears, triple-pendant earring, and necklace; four dolphins around / Head of horse left; palm tree to right, ‘MMḤNT (in Punic) below. Jenkins, Punic 142 (O46/R128; this coin cited); HGC 2, 284; SNG Lloyd 1631 (same obv. die); McClean 3044 (same dies); Warren 421 (this coin). Broad flan, attractive old toning. Near EF.

Ex Peus 396 (5 November 2008), lot 190; UBS 57 (15 September 2003), lot 344; Ars Classica 16 (3 July 1933), lot 921; Ars Classica XIV (2 July 1929), lot 150; Prof. L. White King Collection (Sotheby, Wikinson & Hodge, 22 April 1909), lot 262 (purchased by Rollin & Feurdant, £14/10/-); Edward P. Warren Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge, 2 May 1905), lot 194 (part of).

The location of the main Carthaginian mint in Sicily identified by Punic inscription as "The Camp" has recently been identified as Entella, a fortress city located in central-west Sicily. Founded by the Trojans in the 500s BC, Entella was conquered by Campanian mercenaries in about 410 BC, who quickly sold their services to the Carthaginians. The city remained a Punic stronghold through most of the fourth century. The coinage of Entella was mainly intended to pay mercenary soldiers who were used to Sicilian Greek coinage. Designs were usually based on the ubiquitous issues of Syracuse (obverse), but with reverses displaying their Carthaginian allegiance (the palm tree, phonix in Greek, is a canting pun on the term Phoenician). Horses also feature prominently, referring to the outstanding cavalry of the Carthaginians and their Camapanian allies. This obverse of this tetradrachm is clearly based on the famous dekadrachm of Euainetos, struck nearly a century before. The head of Arethousa is a very close homage to the great die engraver’s serene portrait.