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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 17. Estimate CHF50000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF280. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Akragas. Circa 420. Tetradrachm (Silver, 17.01 g 3). ΑΚΡΑΓΑΝΤΙΝΟΝ Eagle with spread wings to left, perched on dead hare lying on a rock and tearing at it with its beak; on rock, cockle shell and murex Rev. Crab; to left, cockle shell; to right, sea snail; below, a large fish with open jaws, probably a Mero. Basel 257. Gulbenkian 163-164. Kraay/Hirmer 174. Rizzo pl. I, 16. Seltman pl. I, 1. Extremely rare. Slightly porous surfaces, otherwise, good very fine.

Beginning with this issue in circa 420, the mint of Akragas embarked on an ambitious series of artistically important coins, which continued until the sack of the city by the Carthaginians in 406. The eagles become ever more naturalistic and the traditional crab initially shares the reverse with another type, as with this large grouper or the famous Skylla, but is then relegated to being a mere symbol near a rushing quadriga. This first type must have been both quite popular and issued in small numbers since most surviving specimens are not only rare but often very worn: the present piece is well above average and is most desirable. The late Silvia Hurter, a great expert on Sicilian Greek coins (among other things) always enjoyed this coin: she used to tell me that the selection of sea creatures on the reverse reminded her of a wonderful fish soup she had on one of her visits to the area!