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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 72, Lot: 183. Estimate $3000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2006. 
Sold For $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Katane. Circa 461-450 BC. AR Tetradrachm (16.86 g, 3h). River god Amenanos as a man-headed bull kneeling right; branch above, fish below / Nike advancing left, holding fillet. Randazzo 48-53 (same dies); SNG ANS 1235 (same dies); Jameson 1891 (same dies). Good VF, lightly toned, typically flat in areas, die rust on obverse. Rare.

The Sicilian city of Katane (modern Catania) was a Chalkidian colony founded from Naxos in 729 BC. Katane was located midway along the eastern coast of the island at the southern extremity of the slopes of Mount Aetna. Its fertile territory was coveted by neighboring Syracuse and in 476 BC the Syracusan tyrant Hieron I removed the population of Katane to the inland city of Leontini. Katane was then given the name of Aetna and re-peopled with Syracusan citizens and a group of Dorian mercenaries. On the fall of the Sicilian tyrannies in the late 460s BC, the alien population was expelled and the former inhabitants of Katane returned from exile in Leontini to reclaim their city, which now reverted to its original name. It seems unlikely that any coinage was produced at Katane prior to the events of 476 BC, so any issues bearing the name of the Katanians must postdate the restoration of the original population in 461 BC. This tetradrachm is from the beginning of this coinage and depicts on the obverse the local river god Amenanos in the guise of a man-headed bull. The spirited figure of Nike holding a diadem appears, like so many Sicilian coin types, to have an agonistic significance.