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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 88. Estimate $75000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $55000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Syracuse. Second Democracy. 466-405 BC. AV Tetralitron (3.47 gm). Struck circa 406 AD. SURAKOSION around broad rim of circular shield ornamented with a facing gorgoneion / Ephebos, in the form of a naked athlete, standing left, holding strigil in his right hand with which he is removing oil from his left knee. C. Boehringer, "Ehrenrettung einer syrakusanischen Goldmünze" in FlorNum, pg. 74, 1 (V1/R1); C. Boehringer, "Zu Finanzpolitik und Münzprägung des Dionysios von Syrakus" in Essays Thompson, pl. 38, 11 (same obverse die); SNG ANS -; SNG Lloyd -; SNG Copenhagen -; Jameson -; Rizzo -; Gulbenkian -; Pozzi -; Weber -; De Luynes 1402 (same obverse die). Choice EF, slight graze on athlete's face. Extremely rare, one of only eight specimens known, and one of only three in private hands. [See color enlargement on plate 2] ($75,000)

From the James A. Ferrendelli Collection. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 18 (29 March 2000), lot 128; Numismatica Ars Classica 7 (2-3 March 1994), lot 203.

This coin type, the subject of Boehringer's study in FlorNum, is one of the most exquisite examples of numismatic art in the classical period. The obverse shield is certainly influenced by the shield held by the sitting Athena found on the balustrade of the temple of Athena-Nike on the Akropolis at Athens. Boehringer points-out that the die used for the present coin (V1) is the most similar to this sculpture. He regards the reverse of an athlete (an unprecedented motif in Sicilian numismatics) as masterful and lifelike, and compares this image to two contemporary gemstones from Greece and Etruria that reside in the Oxford and Berlin museums.