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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 265. Estimate $3000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Syracuse. Hieron II . 275-215 BC. Æ 34mm (36.41 gm). Diademed head of Hieron II left / IERWNOS in exergue, Nike driving galloping biga right; N below. SNG ANS 908 var. (A below); Calciati II pg. 393, 196, R1 4 = Virzi 1838 = Laffaille, "Choix de Monnaies Grecques en Bronze," 89 (this coin); SNG Copenhagen 832 var. (monogram); SNG Morcom 816; Favorito -; Laffaille -. Good VF, black patina, light smoothing on the obverse and some encrustation around the devices. Very rare. ($3000)

Ex Joel Malter Auction 1 (9-11 November 1973), lot 64; Tom Virzi Collection.

In 265 Hieron II routed the Mamertines at the Longanus river west of Messana. This rare issue of about 36 grams may commemorate this victory and, if comparison be made with Mamertine denominated bronze coins, is the equivalent of an octuple bronze piece (cf. SNG ANS Mamertini 401 [double of about 9 grams] and 402-409 [quadruples of about 18 grams]).

Hieron was sufficiently realistic to abandon his early imperial ambitions in favour of loyalty to Rome and the prosperity and wellbeing of his people. His system of taxation, adopted by Rome after her annexation of Sicily in 241, and monetary reforms on both the international Attic and local litra standards, eventually led to the introduction of the Roman denarius (equivalent of an Attic drachm of about 4.3 grams) at the time of the siege of Syracuse in 212/211, and the abandonment of large cast bronze aes grave in favour of Greek-like fiduciary struck bronze.