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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
591206
Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1206. Estimate $20000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $30000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Selinos. Circa 450 BC. AR Tetradrachm (17.25 gm). SEL-IN-ONT-[ION], Artemis driving quadriga left, Apollo beside her drawing bow / SELIN-OS, river god Selinos standing left holding patera and branch, sacrificing over altar; cock left, selinon leaf and bull standing on pedestal right. Schwabacher 9; SNG Lockett 861 = Antikenmuseum Basel 407 = Giacosa, Uomo e Cavallo Sulla Moneta Greca, pl. 23 (this coin); SNG ANS 690 (same dies); Rizzo pl. xxxi, 13 (same dies); SNG Lloyd 1229 (same dies). Beautifully toned, choice EF. ($20,000)

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica Auction 13 (8 October 1998), lot 407; R.C. Lockett Collection (Glendining's, 26 October 1955), lot 747; De Ciccio Collection.

The symbolism on this and the previous coin is complex. The inevitable celery leaf is of course the continuation of the original punning type, while the cult of Apollo, whose unfinished temple is the largest in Selinos, must have been of great importance in the fifth century BC. The connotations with Crete are evident as seen by the Herakles and Cretan bull obverse and the reverse pedestal's curving sides, reminiscent of the shape of Mycenaean columns. Diodorus (IV, 77-8) relates several stories that imply connections between prehistoric Crete and Sicily, if not actual settlements. Daedalos, the legendary Cretan artist and inventor, creator of both the labyrinth at Knossos and the wings for his son Icarus, is said to have crossed to Sicily, where he was protected by king Kokalos and there was credited with numerous marvels including the platform for Aphrodite's temple at Eryx, a fortress near Akragas, and the celebrated underground baths (tomb shrine?) at Selinos where sick people came for therapeutic steam-treatment. Heraklea, the border post between Akragas and Selinos, is distinguished from other Herakleas by the epithet Minoa, where Minos was buried and where Minoans subsequently settled.