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515532
515532.

SICILY, Syracuse. Fifth Democracy. 214-212 BC. AR 8 Litrai (21mm, 6.79 g, 11h). Reverse die signed by the artist Ly(sid)–. Struck circa 213-212 BC. Wreathed head of Kore left; behind neck, owl standing left, head facing / Nike driving fast quadriga right; monogram above, AI below, small ΛY on exergual line, ΣYPAKOSIΩN in exergue. Burnett, Enna 53 (same dies); BAR issue 88; HGC 2, 1417; BM 658 (same obv. die); de Luynes 1395 (same dies); Jameson 894 (same obv. die). Slight die shift and somewhat flatly struck on reverse. Superb EF. Very rare.


Ex Giessener Munzhandlung 95 (9 March 1999), lot 132.

This rare coin of the short-lived Fifth Democracy is the last of the famous “signed die” issues, which raised Syracuse to incomparable heights in the numismatic world. Two known reverse dies bear the signature ΛY and ΛYCIΔ in tiny letters on the exergual line, much in the tradition of Kimon or Euainetos nearly two centuries earlier. The “Lysid” who signed his name is otherwise unknown and it is uncertain whether he also engraved the obverse die, which bears a striking Kore head in the finest style of the times. The conditions under which the coin was struck were dire indeed, as Syracuse was under siege by the Romans continuously from 214 to 212 BC. when the city fell and was brutally sacked.