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Morton & Eden Ltd
Auction 86  24 May 2017
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Lot 9

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Starting Price: 40000 GBP
Price realized: 50000 GBP

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Sicily, Syracuse, silver decadrachm, c. 405 BC, by Kimon, fast quadriga driven left by charioteer who reaches forward with goad and is crowned with wreath by Nike flying above; on exergual line, traces of artist's signature ΚΙΜΩΝ and in exergual area below, cuirass between two greaves flanked by a shield and crested helmet arranged on two steps, rev., ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩ, head of Arethusa left, wearing single-drop earring, pearl necklace and ampyx inscribed with artist's initial K, her hair held at the back in a net; four dolphins around, the lower one inscribed ΚΙΜΩΝ, 43.09g, die axis 6.00, a few marks, about extremely fine, the Kimon decadrachm signed three times by the artist. This coin published: Gerald Hoberman, The Art of Coins and their Photography, London, 1982, pp. 78-9. References: Jongkees 3; AMB 479; Rizzo pl. 52, 3; Gulbenkian 303; SNG Lockett 998; Dewing 869; Kraay/Hirmer 118, same dies. Provenance: Münzen und Medaillen 54, Basel, 26 October 1978, lot 122 ("superbe", erroneously described as Jongkees 7); Gerald Hoberman Collection; DNW, London, 22 June 2011, lot 1005. Note: Despite being "perhaps the most famous of all ancient coins" (Jenkins, 1972), ancient sources have been silent on the historical setting in which the Syracusan decadrachms were struck. Until the 1960s they were seen as a victory coinage to mark the defeat of the great Athenian fleet in 413 BC but this theory was abandoned by Kraay ("Greek Coins", 1966) who saw the Kimonian decadrachms as "probably to be dated c. 405 BC and may be connected with Dionysius's victory over the Carthaginians in that year". Kimon was one of the greatest artists of the Syracusan mint and his decadrachm coinage was much smaller than that of his compatriot Euainetos whose decadrachms follow on slightly later and are more plentiful. The present coin is struck from Kimon's first obverse die which shows traces of his signature along the exergual line below the galloping horses, and from the reverse die that bears his signature twice – on Arethusa's ampyx as an initial and on the lower dolphin beneath her truncation. It has been struck from an early state of the reverse die showing only a hint of the flaw across Arethusa's eye. (50000 - 70000 GBP)
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