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Auction 16  10 May 2018
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Lot 48

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Estimate: 150 000 CHF

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Sicily. Syracuse. Dionysios I, 405-367 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 30 mm, 17.10 g, 6 h), signed by Κ... on the reverse, c. 405-400. Charioteer standing left and holding the reins in both hands and the kentron in his right, driving quadriga galloping to left; below, under the horses' hooves, one dangling rein and a wheel fallen from another chariot; in exergue, ear of barley to left; above, Nike flying right to crown the driver. Rev. ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙ - ΩΝ Head of Arethusa to right, wearing double-spiral earring and necklace with nine pearl-shaped pendants, and with her hair bound up by an ampyx in front and sphendone ornamented with stars and a zigzag pattern behind; to right, two dolphins swimming downwards to left; behind, two dolphins swimming downwards to right, one swimming out from behind Arethusa's neck; behind neck, and between the dolphins, miniature retrograde Κ. Basel 470 (same dies). Fischer-Bossert/Tudeer 68 A (O25/R42). Gulbenkian 287 (same dies). Rizzo pl. XLVII, 12 (same dies). Very rare and of superb quality, probably the finest of less than eight examples known. Some very minor striking faults, some dark patina, and with the start of the die break on Arethusa's forehead, otherwise, good extremely fine.
From the Swiss Chillon Collection, acquired prior to 2005, but previously with Tradart and sold with a certificate from the 1990s. Originally almost certainly from the same find that contained the die identical piece that ultimately appeared as NAC 33, 2006, 94.

This splendid coin is an absolute masterpiece of ripe classical die cutting. The rushing chariot, with one trailing rein and a broken wheel below, is a vision of the race winner, with its driver beginning to rein in his horses after passing the finish line. The head of Arethusa shows us a goddess of truly serene and kindly beauty, lacking the icy and stern power of Kimon's goddess on his second series of dekadrachms.
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