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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90010022
Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 22. Estimate CHF10000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF225. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Messana. 420-413 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 17.29 g 8). ΜΕΣΣΑΝΑ Biga of mules walking to left, driven by the Nymph Messana, standing left and holding goad in her right hand and reins in both; in exergue, two confronted dolphins Rev. ΜΕΣΣΑΝΙΟΝ Hare springing to right; below, fly seen from above. Caltabiano 516. SNG ANS 373. Struck from a rusty obverse die and with a minor die break on the reverse, otherwise, one of the best known examples, extremely fine.


The standard types of the coinage of Messana show a biga of mules, in honor of the Olympic victory won by the tyrant Anaxilas in the mule car races (a short-lived event in the Olympics) and a hare, an animal Anaxilas supposedly introduced to Sicily. The symbol on the reverse, a fly, is particularly realistic, once again testifying to how carefully Greek artists observed the natural world around them.