Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich

Auction 114 - Part I

Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich, Auction 114 - Part I

Greek, Roman and Byzantine Coins

Tu, 07.05.2019, from 11:00 AM CEST
The auction is closed.


Selinus. Tetradrachm circa 440, AR 17.58 g. ΣΕΛ – ΙΝ – ΟΝΤ – ΙΟΣ Slow quadriga l. in which stand Apollo and Artemis, respectively shooting arrow and holding reins. Rev. ΣΕΛ – Ι – NΟ – Σ The river-god Selinos, naked, standing l. holding branch and pouring libation over garlanded altar, in front of which stands cockerel; in r. field, statue of bull standing l. on platform set upon stepped block; above, Selinon leaf. Rizzo pl. 31, 13. C. Boehringer, Konkordanz, 8. Schwabacher 4. SNG Lloyd 1222 (these dies).
Rare and amongst the finest specimens known. Two finely executed dies of exquisite
style and the work of a very skilled master engraver. Struck on a very broad flan
and unusually complete. Light iridescent tone and good extremely fine

From a Swiss collection and privately purchased from A. Tkalec on the 17th of January 1995.

The close relationship between the Classical period coinage of Selinus and Himera has not escaped notice, as it seems to provide evidence of ties between these two cities, despite their locations on opposite shores of Sicily. We can recognise a general similarity between the tetradrachms of these cities: both have a chariot scene on the obverse and a sacrifice scene on the reverse. We can also see that a cock, the badge of Himera, has been incorporated into the design of this magnificent Selinus tetradrachm; indeed, it enjoys as prominent a position as the Selinon leaf, which was the canting type for Selinus. The solidarity of these Greek cities dates back to at least 480 B.C., when Himera and Selinus alone supported the Carthaginians against Acragas, who was a troublesome rival to both. It is a curious, yet typically Greek Sicilian twist of fate that Himera and Selinus were both destroyed by Carthage in 409 B.C. The chariot scene is atypical in that it includes two deities – in this case the sibling gods Apollo and Artemis. Artemis drives the quadriga as her twin brother Apollo draws his bow; the choice of this type is hardly surprising since Apollo was the deity of choice at Selinus, which had a massive temple dedicated to the god on its eastern hill. The reverse shows the river-god Selinus holding a lustral branch of purification as he strides toward a garlanded altar to sacrifice from a patera (for four interesting varieties, see Kraay- Hirmer nos. 186, 188-190). We are fortunate that the inscription names Selinus, who otherwise might be mistaken for Apollo. In addition to the aforementioned cock and Selinon leaf, there is also a bull upon a monumental base. Were it not for the fact that the base differs so greatly from one die to the next, we might presume that it was a local monument; but the inconsistent presentation virtually rules out that possibility. A. H. Lloyd, in his study of the coin types of Selinus in the 1935 Numismatic Chronicle, identifies the statue as the brazen bull of Phalaris in which Phalaris of Acragas (tyrant c. 570- 549 B.C.) is said to have roasted his enemies alive. Since Himera was one of the important acquisitions of Phalaris in his quest to become tyrant of Sicily, Lloyd considered this type to represent the longstanding friendship between Himera and Selinus.

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Price realized 53'000 CHF
Starting price 28'000 CHF
Estimate 35'000 CHF
The auction is closed.
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