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Triton XXVII

Lot nuber 83

SICILY, Syracuse. Hieron II. 275-215 BC. AR 32 Litrai – Oktadrachm (33.5mm, 28.40 g, 12h). Struck circa 217-215 BC. EF.

Triton XXVII
Lot: 83.
 Estimated: $ 20 000

Greek, 12h, Coin-in-Hand Video, Silver

Sold For $ 75 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

SICILY, Syracuse. Hieron II. 275-215 BC. AR 32 Litrai – Oktadrachm (33.5mm, 28.40 g, 12h). Struck circa 217-215 BC. Diademed head right; trident head to right / Nike, nude to waist, holding kentron in extended right hand and reins in left, driving fast biga right; E below, IEPΩNOΣ in exergue. CCO 3 (D2/R3); BAR Issue 64; HGC 2, 1545; Basel 531 (this coin). Lightly toned, underlying luster, some hairlines. EF. Very rare oktadrachm of Hieron II, one of four known with the trident symbol.

From the Hydrologist Collection. Ex A. D. Moretti Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica 13, 8 October 1998), lot 531.

Hieron II started life as the illegitimate son of a a noble father, allegedly a distant descendant of the Syracusan tyrant Gelon I. Later legends claim Hieron was exposed as an infant, but swarms of bees fed him honey until his father, warned by an astrologer, came and rescued the boy. As a young man, he served as a mercenary soldier in the army of Pyrrhos of Epeiros. When his commander elected to abort his Sicilian expedition in 275 BC, Hieron stayed behind and convinced a cabal of fellow soldiers to choose him as leader and seize power in Syracuse. He went on to rule the city and much of Sicily, first as a military tyrant, later as an enlightened and successful king, for nearly 50 years. He is most famous as the king who patronized the brilliant polymath Archimedes in his “eureka!” discovery, the principle of displacement. Hieron’s coinage is widely varied, interesting, and in many ways inspired by that his Hellenistic ally, the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. The widely circulated silver 16-litra pieces depicting his aristocratic wife, Philistis, are clearly modeled on the veiled portraits of Ptolemaic queens. Much rarer is this exceptionally large and impressive silver coin, struck late in his reign, which depicts the diademed head of Hieron himself on the obverse and Nike driving a racing biga on the reverse. Although the type is often denominated as a 32 litra piece, its weight of about 28 grams (and presumed buying power) is the same as that of Ptolemaic oktadrachm.

The final winners of all Triton XXVII lots will be determined at the live public sale that will be held on 9-10 January 2024.

Triton XXVII – Session One – Lot 1-337 will be held Tuesday morning, 9 January 2024 beginning at 9:00 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 22.5% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 25% for all others.

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