SICILY. Selinus. Ca. 440-420 BC. AR tetradrachm (26mm, 17.25 gm, 1h). Artemis driving walking quadriga right; beside her, Apollo drawing back bow, barleycorn in exergue / ΣΕΛΙΝΟΝΤΙΟΝ, nude Selinus sanding left, holding phiale in right hand and cradling laurel branch in left arm; to left, cock standing left before altar; to right, bull standing left on basis, wild celery (selinon) leaf above. HGC 2, 1221 (R1). SNG ANS 697 (same dies). An exceptional specimen of this rare and attractive series, with a beautifully modeled male figure. NGC AU 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. From the Northern California Collection. Ex CNG 40 (New York, 4 December 1996), lot 829. Situated on a vast plateau in southwestern Sicily, Selinus was founded in the late seventy century BC by Dorian colonists from Megara in mainland Greece. Named after a river god, Selinus was one of the earliest Sicilian cities to embrace the invention of coinage. Its first coins, struck on the Corinthian standard circa 540 BC, bore a selinon (celery) leaf as a canting pun on the city name. By the mid fifth century BC, Selinus had switched to the Attic standard and was producing coins of great artistry. The complex reverse of this tetradrachm features a superbly rendered nude male torso of the river god Selinus, shown wearing his characteristic horns and holding implements of sacrifice, a phiale and laurel branch. Other symbols -- an altar, rooster, bull, and selinon leaf -- also factor into the design. Later in the fifth century BC, Selinus became embroiled in the wars between Carthage and Syracuse for control of Sicily, frequently switching sides between the contending powers and suffering repeated sackings and the enslavement of its population as a result. By the Roman era (circa 200 BC) the city was depopulated and in ruins.
Estimate: 10000-14000 USD