Auction 10  –  18 May 2015

Nomos, Auction 10

Greek, Roman and Byzantine Coins

Mo, 18.05.2015, from 4:00 PM CEST
The auction is closed.


GREEK COINS Sicily The Sikeliotes, c. 214-213 BC. 25 Litrai (Gold, 12mm, 2.07g 12), Morgantina. Head of Athena to right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; behind neck, two pel­lets; to left, thunderbolt. Rev. ΣΙΚΕΛΙΩΤΑΝ Owl with closed wings standing to right, head facing front; to left, monogram of ΤΙΣ (or ΗΣ). Nomos 5, 25 October 2011, 119 (same dies, otherwise unpublished). The second and finest known example. A coin of great interest and signifi­cance. A few very minor marks and somewhat roughly struck, otherwise, good extremely fine. From an English collection. For the coinage of the Sikeliotes at Morgantina, see Morgantina Studies II, pp. 31-34. This coin, which has been in private hands for many years, is particularly interesting. The Sikeliotes struck coins in Morgantina shortly before the city’s capture and sack by the Romans; they were emergency issues minted to pay for mil­itary needs. Obviously, after the overwhelming victory of the Ro­mans, all of those coins would have been withdrawn from circu­lation: the gold would have been re-used for the Romans’ own Mars/Eagle gold pieces, of which some very rare issues were produced in Sicily. The types used for this coin were probably taken from the scarce silver fractions struck by Hieron II: the 1 1/4 litrai with Artemis and an owl (as SNG ANS 906), and the litron (or triple chalkous) with Athena and a value mark (as SNG ANS 907). However, they are also exactly the same as the types used for some extremely rare gold fractions (c. 0.56 g) struck in Panormos c. 280-275 (as SNG ANS 576; SNG Lloyd 1671 and Weber 1736). This return to a type produced over two genera­tions earlier is inexplicable and may well call the date of the issue attributed to Panormos into question. The monogram found on the present piece, and on other issues of the Sikeliotes has yet to be satisfactorily explained.

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