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Numismatica Ars Classica
Auction 124  23 Jun 2021
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6 days 12 hr 49 min

Lot 66
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Estimate: 200 000 CHF
Minimum bid: 160 000 CHF

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Syracuse.
Decadrachm signed by Kimon circa 405-400, AR 42.70 g. Fast quadriga driven l. by charioteer, holding reins and kentron; in field above, Nike flying r. to crown him. In exergue, display of military harness set on two steps and below, ΑΘΛΑ. Rev. ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩN Head of Arethusa l., wearing earring with pendant and beaded necklace; wavy hair bound in front with ampyx, on which the signature ΚΙ/Μ, and caught up behind by net. Around three dolphins, while a fourth makes dorsal contact with neck truncation. Rizzo pl. L, 1 and enlarged pl. LII, 1 (these dies). Weber 1611 (this coin). Regling, Syrakus 1. Gillet 644 (these dies). AMB 478 (these dies). Gulbenkian 301 (these dies). Dewing 868 (these dies). SNG Lloyd 1409 (these dies). Kraay-Hirmer pl. 42, 116. Jongkees 1d (this coin).
Extremely rare. A very pleasant specimen of this important and desirable issue, work of
the most celebrated Sicilian master engraver. A portrait of Arethusa of very elegant
style struck on a very broad flan. Lovely light tone, minor areas of porosity,
otherwise about extremely fine

Ex Naville VI, 1924, Bement, 509; Leu/NFA 16-18 October 1984, Garrett, 138; NFA XVIII, 1987, 53 and New York XXVII, 2012, Prospero, 174 sales. From the Weber and Webster collections.
#Scholars have long attempted to ascribe Kimon's decadrachms to an historical event as they seem in every way to be commemorative medallions. The Syracusan defeat of the Athenian navy in 413 at first seems an ideal choice, though current thought on the dating of this issue favours the victorious actions of Syracuse in the otherwise devastating invasion of Sicily by the Carthaginians from 406 to 405 B.C. The most compelling reason to associate the Kimonian decadrachms with a military victory is the display of armour and weaponry that appears in the obverse exergue along with the inscription AΘΛA, which indicates 'prizes', or at least 'agonistic contests'. Since it was a common practice of Greek soldiers to engrave dedicatory inscriptions on captured armour, a connection might be drawn between that practice and what we observe here. The obverse scene of a charioteer guiding his team through a bend is devoted entirely to victory. Despite their inherent dissimilarities, the four elements of the scene exist in harmony: the driver is calm and composed, the horses toss their heads wildly as they charge forward, Nike floats above as if undisturbed by the great contest below, and the display of arms and armour is fixed, as if monumental.
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