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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 8, Lot: 50. Estimate CHF2800. 
Closing Date: Monday, 21 October 2013. 
Sold For CHF7500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Syracuse. 466-405 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 24mm, 17.15 g 2), c. 430-420 BC. Charioteer in quadriga moving slowly to right, holding the reins in both hands and goad in his right; above, Nike flying left to crown the driver. Rev. ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΟΝ Large head of Arethusa to right, wearing simple earring and necklace with a pendant, and with her hair bound up with a cord wound four times around her head; around, four dolphins (two behind her head and two before). Boehringer 687. De Nanteuil 344. With a lovely head of Arethusa of splendidly severe Classical style. Obverse struck on a short flan with much of the driver, Nike and the horses’ heads off the flan, otherwise, about extremely fine.

From the B. in B. Collection, ex The Numismatic Auction 1, 13 December 1982, 29.

One of the problems with Syracusan coinage is that the minters were, most of the time, more interested in the quantity of coins struck than in perfect striking. Obverse dies were often very worn and the flans were often too small to accommodate all of the design on the die: this problem can easily be seen here. However, much greater care was taken over the reverses, with their often splendid heads of Arethusa. This coin shows us Arethusa wearing a particularly complicated hair style, carefully bound up: it must have been all rage among elegant women in the 420s BC, but within a few years it rapidly went out of fashion and disappeared.