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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1248. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Syracuse. The Syracusan Democracy. 214-212 BC. AR 10 Litrai (8.46 gm). Head of Persephone left, wearing earring, necklace and wreath of grain; torch behind / Zeus Strategos standing facing, head left, wearing himation and holding sceptre in right hand; XAP and eagle left, SURAKOSIWN right. Burnett, "The Enna Hoard," SNR 62, D38 (same dies); De Luynes 1394 (same dies). Choice EF, slightly double struck reverse. Extremely rare denomination. ($5000)

From the William N. Rudman Collection. Ex Triton I (2-3 December 1997), lot 369.

The Syracusan ruler Hieron II, a loyal ally of Rome, died in 215 BC while the Romans were locked in a life-and-death struggle with Hannibal of Carthage. His son, Gelon, had predeceased him so the throne of Syracuse passed to his grandson, Hieronymos, a youth of only fifteen. The Carthaginian faction in Syracuse persuaded the new ruler to renounce the Roman alliance which his grandfather had so steadfastly maintained, but this soon resulted in a revolution at Syracuse in which Hieronymos and all the members of his family perished (214 BC). The young king had reigned for a mere thirteen months. Democratic government was now reestablished but the following year the Romans laid siege to the city and it was sacked following its fall in 211, thus bringing to an end almost three centuries of Syracusan preeminence in the affairs of Greek Sicily. The three-year period of the restored democracy saw a surprisingly large and varied output of coinage, all the more remarkable as the city was under siege by the Romans throughout most of this episode. Principally in silver, with denominations based on the traditional Sicilian unit of the litra, the coinage of the Fifth Republic has some attractive and interesting types. This example - a piece of 10 litrae - has a reverse type which appears to represent the statue of Zeus Strategos which is mentioned by Cicero in II Verr. iv. 58 (cf. Historia Numorum, pg. 186-7).