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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Ex Virgil Brand Collection

Triton XXI, Lot: 360. Estimate $30000.
Sold for $45000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Uncertain Punic mint. First Punic War. Circa 264-241 BC. AR 5 Shekels – Dekadrachm (40.5mm, 37.80 g, 1h). Head of Tanit left, wearing wreath of grain ears and single-pendant earring / Pegasos flying right; Punic B'RŠT (= “In the land”) below. Jenkins, Punic, Series 6, 451 (O5/R20 – this coin referenced); Jenkins & Lewis pl. 27, 2; CNP 350; HGC 2, 1664; SNG Stockholm 663 (same dies); Hirsch 1866 (same dies); Kraay & Hirmer 211. Good VF, toned, trace deposits, a couple small scratches and light die rust on obverse, minor metal flaws on reverse. Well struck on a broad flan. Impressive and aesthetically pleasing.

From the Collection of a Northern California Gentleman. Ex Leu 45 (28 May 1988), lot 77; Hess-Leu 45 (12 May 1970), lot 85; Virgil Brand Collection (Hess-Leu 31, 6 December 1966), lot 180.

Although since the late 6th century BC relations between Rome and Carthage had always been maintained on a friendly basis, Rome's growing influence in Magna Graecia in the early decades of the third century BC led inevitably to an increasing rivalry between the two powers. The Italian state was being drawn inexorably into the bitter politics of the centuries-old dispute between Greeks and Carthaginians in Sicily. This magnificent medallic piece was issued at about the time of the outbreak of the First Punic War which, after almost a quarter of a century of fighting, was to bring about the end of the Carthaginian presence on the island. Find spots for these coins have been exclusively Sicilian, and they were presumably struck for military purposes. Although horses had always been popular on Carthaginian and Siculo-Punic issues, the depiction of the winged Pegasos represented a departure from tradition. The influence of the Corinthian coinage and that of her colony Syracuse seems obvious. The typically enigmatic Punic inscription translates “in the land,” and the Carthaginian stronghold of Panormos on the north coast of western Sicily has been suggested as the mint for this impressive series.