Estimate: 100'000 CHF
Starting price: 80'000 CHF
Price realized: 100'000 CHF
Sicily, Syracuse. Decadrachm, unsigned work by Euainetos, circa 400 BC, AR 43.33 g.
Description 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 l., [AQLA]. Rev. SU – R – A - K – OSIWN Head of Arethusa (Kore-Persephone) l., wearing barley-wreath, triple pendant earring and beaded necklace; around three dolphins, while a fourth makes dorsal contact with neck truncation. Below chin, pellet. References
Rizzo pl. LIII, 18 (these dies)
SNG Lloyd 472 (this obverse die)
Dewing 923 (this obverse die)
Gallatin J.V/R.XXII, 4 (this coin) Condition
A spectacular specimen of this prestigious and important issue. A wonderful portrait struck in high relief on exceptionally fresh metal. Good extremely fine Provenance
Rollin & Feuardent sale 10 May 1910, Duruflé collection, 214
Leu sale 54, 1992, 42
Gemini sale IX, 2012, 5
Roma Numismatics sale 5, 2013, 132
The Ed Milas collection.
Both his contemporaries and successors regarded Euainetos as the ultimate master. No work of ancient coinage has been copied over a longer period or more frequently than his signed Syracusan decadrachm. Most Siculo-punic issues replicate the chariot and team, as well as the head on the obverse. The female head in particular must have made an unusually deep impression on the ancients, appearing not only on gold and electrum Carthaginian issues, but also on many 4th and 3rd century B.C. coins from sites as geographically disparate as Spain and Crete. In the 3rd century B.C., the head even served as the model for the tondo on varnished Greek bowls. From copyists’ embellishments of corn-ears and stalks, we can only assume that they interpreted Euainetos’ female head as an effigy of Kore-Persephone. Most researchers have nonetheless interpreted the work as representing Arethusa, in which case the corn ears are out of place, although reeds of similar appearance would have fitted in very well. Such long-lasting impact and exceptional ubiquity is nevertheless understandable only in the context of a much-revered goddess, certainly not a local nymph.