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Research Coins: Feature Auction


A Group of Attractive Punic Tetradrachms

Sale: Triton X, Lot: 64. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 8 January 2007. 
Sold For $8000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Entella. Punic issues. Circa 345/38-320/15 BC. AR Tetradrachm (16.83 g, 4h). Head of Persephone left, wearing barley-ear wreath, triple-pendant earring, and necklace; four dolphins around, shell below chin / Horse walking right in front of palm tree. Jenkins, Punic 134 (O45/R120’); Nanteuil 411 (same dies). Superb EF, overstruck on uncertain type.

SECTION INTRO: In the final decade of the 5th century BC the Carthaginians launched a series of invasions of Sicily, conquering much of the western half of the island and bringing devastation to many formerly flourishing Greek communities. The Punic presence lasted for a century and a half, until Rome's victory in the First Punic War obliged them to withdraw. During their time of occupation, the Carthaginians struck an extensive coinage in Sicily for the purpose of financing their military operations and the maintenance of garrisons. The obverse and reverse types of the series are mostly influenced by Sicilian prototypes, particularly those of Syracuse, except for the later series with the head of Herakles on the obverse which was obviously influenced by the well-recognized coinage of Alexander the Great. While a few of the series are struck at cities with established mints, such as Motya and Panormos, these are often viewed as minor or campaign mints that operated for a short duration. The location of the primary Punic mint (or mints) on Sicily, responsible for the large issues studied by G.K. Jenkins (’Carthage’ series I-V), has been the subject of great debate. Most recently I. Lee surveyed the preexisting literature and took a fresh look at the full spectrum of evidence, persuasively concluding that this mint was located at Entella (”Entella: The Silver Coinage of the Campanian Mercenaries and the First Carthaginian Mint 410-409 BC”, NC 2000).