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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Sicily||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Greek Coins of Sicily

The coins of Ancient Greek Sicily are considered among the finest numismatic works of art ever produced. Superb examples may cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Forum's selections include some more affordable examples.


Carthage, Punic Sardinia, c. 216 - 215 B.C.

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This scarce type was issued by Carthaginian forces that landed on Roman ruled Sardinia during the 2nd Punic War. Soon after the start of the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome, fought from 218 to 201 B.C., the Carthaginian general Hannibal marched over the Alps, invaded Italy, and scored great victories at Lake Trasimene and Cannae. The Romans adopted the Fabian strategy - avoiding battle against Hannibal and defeating his allies and the other Carthaginian generals instead. Scipio Africanus finally defeated Hannibal in 202 B.C., victory put Rome in control of the western Mediterranean and much of Spain.
GB91492. Bronze AE 18, Viola CNP 377l, SNG Cop 1103, SNG Milan XIV 731, Macdonald Hunter 133, McClean 3065, de Luynes IV 3890, Alexandropoulos MAA -, Choice VF, well toned, attractive style, well centered, weight 4.413 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 90o, Sardinia, uncertain mint, Second Punic War, c. 216 - 215 B.C.; obverse head of Tanit left, wreathed in grain, wearing necklace and triple drop earring, Punic letter zayin below chin; reverse bull standing right, star of eight rays around a central pellet above, Punic letters ayin taw (from right to left) lower right; scarce; $300.00 (€264.00)


Kephaloidion, Sicily, c. 307 - 289 B.C.

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Kephaloidoion, on Cape Cefalu, was under the influence of nearby Himera until c. 405 B.C. In 396 B.C., the town allied with General Himilco of Carthage against Dionysos of Syracuse but was defeated. Agathocles besieged and conquered the city in 307 B.C. Kephaloidion was again allied with Carthage at the beginning of the First Punic War but the citizens opened the gates when the Roman fleet appeared off the shore in 254 B.C. The city faded but survived at least into the second century A.D.
GI76952. Bronze AE 17, Calciati I, p. 371, 1; HGC 2 649 (R2); SNG ANS -; SNG Morcom -; SNG München -; SNG Tüb -, VF, green patina, light marks, reverse off center, weight 4.367 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 135o, Kephaloidion (Cefalu, Sicily) mint, c. 344 - 336 B.C. (references vary greatly); obverse KEΦAΛOI∆I, Herakles head right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse bull butting right, club above, linear border; very rare; $280.00 (€246.40)


Naxos, Sicily, c. 461 - 430 B.C.

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Naxos was an ancient Greek city of Sicily on the east coast of the island between Catana (modern Catania) and Messana (modern Messina). It was at the mouth of the river Acesines (modern Alcantara) and at the foot of the hill on which was afterwards built the city of Tauromenium (modern Taormina). In 403 B.C., Dionysius of Syracuse, having made himself master of Naxos by the treachery of their general Procles, sold all the inhabitants as slaves and destroyed the walls and buildings of the city. The site of Naxos was never again inhabited in antiquity; but in 358 B.C., the Naxian exiles from all parts of the island joined together and founded Tauromenium on top of the nearby hill.
GI91051. Silver litra, Cahn 74.8 (V54/R62); Rizzo pl. XXVIII, 15; SNG ANS 521; SNG Mün 758; SNG Cop 491; BMC Italy 17; de Luynes 1067, HGC 2 970 (R2) (all same dies), VF, well centered, light marks, etched surfaces, weight 0.653 g, maximum diameter 11.6 mm, die axis 0o, Naxos mint, c. 461 - 430 B.C.; obverse NAXI (clockwise on right), head of Dionysos right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse bunch of grapes on vine with leaves and tendrils around; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 39 (27 Aug 2017), lot 68; ex Mark Christenson Collection; rare; $280.00 (€246.40)


Abakainon, Sicily, 339 - 317 B.C.

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Abakainon was a native Sicel city that adopted Greek culture, but allied with Carthage. In the 5th century B.C., it was powerful and important. In 396, Dionysios I of Syracuse seized part of its territory and founded the city Tyndaris. The Carthaginian general Mago came to their aid but was defeated outside the city walls. Abakainon fell under the hegemony of Syracuse and as Tyndaris grew and prospered, Abakainon diminished to insignificance. It suffered a major earthquake in the 1st century A.D. but survived at least until the 2nd century. Tommaso Fazello (1498 - 1570) described the ruins as indicating a large city which had been destroyed to its foundations. The village of Tripi was founded on the ruins in 1061.
GB86300. Bronze tetras, Calciati I 5; SNG ANS 901; HGC 2 34 (S); SNG Cop -, SNG München -; SNG Tübingen -; SNG Morcom -; SNG Lloyd -, gVF, well centered, dark green patina, bumps and scratches, tiny spots of slight corrosion, obverse center struck a little flat, weight 2.404 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 225o, Abakainon (Tripi, Sicily) mint, 339 - 317 B.C.; obverse head of a nymph left, hair in ampyx and sphendone, wearing drop earring; reverse ABAKAINI-NΩN, forepart of bull charging left, head turned facing; very rare; $270.00 (€237.60)


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysios I, c. 405 - 367 B.C.

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Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
GS86597. Silver hemilitron, SNG ANS 301; SNG Cop 669; SNG Lloyd 1379; BMC Sicily p. 182, 237; Boehringer Münzprägungen pl. II, 19; HGC 2 1392 (R2) , VF, dark toning, light marks and corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.434 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 395 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, wearing drop earring, hair bound in ampyx and sphendone, no control symbol or signature; reverse four-spoked wheel, SY-PA in upper quarters, two dolphins heads downward nose to nose in lower quarters; very rare; $270.00 (€237.60)


Agyrion, Sicily, 355 - 344 B.C.

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Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sikel city ruled by tyrants, one of whom, Agyris, was the most powerful ruler in the center of Sicily. In 392 B.C., he and Dionysius the Elder, together successfully resisted the Carthaginians under Magno. Agira was not colonized by the Greeks until the Corinthian general Timoleon drove out the last Sikel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.

According to Caltabiano, Palagkaios was probably the Sikel name for the larger of the two local rivers (Salso Cimarosa today). Molinari and Sisci propose a Semitic origin, from the Akkadian palag-āsú, 'the gushing river.'
GB91174. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 125, 10; Potamikon 14; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Morcom -, VF, dark green patina, undersize flan, weight 2.685 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 270o, Agyrion (Agira, Sicily, Italy) mint, 355 - 344 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI counterclockwise before, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse forepart of a man-faced bull (river-god Acheloios Palagkaios) left, ΠAΛAΓKAIOΣ horizontal above, dot border; rare; $190.00 (€167.20)


Akragas, Sicily, 338 - 317 B.C.

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We received this coin in 2005. Worried that the light green spots were active bronze disease, we set the coin aside with intentions to examine it more closely and probably treat it. It was misplaced and never treated. Upon its "rediscovery" and a close examination, it is clear, the light green spots are not bronze disease. The coin has not changed in the slightest over the last 14 years.
GI91782. Bronze AE 16, Calciati I p. 206, 116 R1 2 (different dies); SNG ANS 1113; HGC 2 164; SNG Cop 95 var.; SNG München -, VF, beautiful style - finest style for the type, dark patina with lighter encrustations, tight flan, weight 4.200 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 270o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, 338 - 317 B.C.; obverse AKPAΓA, laureate head of Zeus left; reverse eagle left, wings open, hare in talons with head down and left, ∆ below wings; $180.00 (€158.40)


Abakainon, Sicily, c. 410 - 396 B.C.

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Even today, Sicilian farmers allow their indigenous Sicilian Black Swine to forage for acorns in the oak forests of the Nebrodi Mountains near ancient Abakainon. Physically resembling and often mistaken for wild boar, they stand about 70 centimeters high and have a prominent ridge of spinal bristles running from its large head to about midway along its back. There are fewer than 2000 of these swine today. Their meat, especially Nebrodi ham, is highly prized as the pig's wild woodlands diet enhances the flavor.
GI86596. Silver litra, SNG München 4 (same rev. die); SNG Tübingen 552; SNG ANS 899; BMC Sicily p. 2, 8; Weber 1171; HGC 2 20 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG Lloyd -, gVF, toned, some bumps and scratches, some corrosion, weight 0.675 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 45o, Abakainon (Tripi, Sicily) mint, c. 410 - 396 B.C.; obverse head of water nymph facing slightly left; reverse sow and piglet walking right, piglet before her, below her head, double exergue line, BA above, A in exergue, within round incuse; rare; $160.00 (€140.80)


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

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Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $150.00 (€132.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.

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This combination of control symbols is not listed in the references examined. The cornucopia obverse control symbol is normally paired with a fulmen (thunderbolt) on the reverse. The vertical trident reverse control symbol is normally paired with a club on the obverse.
SH73164. Bronze AE 26, Calciati II p. 325, 177 Ds 69 var. (club vice cornucompia); SNG Cop 810 var.; SNG ANS 844 ff. var.; SNG München 1333 ff. var.; HGC 2 1450 (S), VF, nice style, nice patina, broad flan, edge split, weight 11.274 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Herakles left, clad in lion-skin headdress, cornucopia (control symbol) behind; reverse Athena Promachos advancing right, helmeted and draped, hurling javelin with raised right hand, shield in left hand, no inscription, vertical trident head upward (control symbol) behind; rare variety; $150.00 (€132.00)




  






REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Saturday, January 18, 2020.
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Sicily