Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 106 Part I   |   9 - 10 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 168

Estimate: 30'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 24'000 CHF Price realized: 38'000 CHF
Camarina. Didrachm circa 405, AR 8.67 g. KAMA – P – INAIO – N The nymph Camarina, with head l., dressed in low-necked chiton leaving the breast partly bare and with crossed legs, riding on swan l. over curved waves. She clasps with l. hand the swan’s neck while r. holds billowing chiton; in field, two fishes swimming upwards. Rev. ΙΠΠΑ – PΙ – Σ retrograde. Head of the river-god Hipparis l., flanked by two fishes swimming upwards. Rizzo pl. VII,1 (these dies). de Luynes 878 (these dies). SNG Lloyd 874 (these dies). Westermark-Jenkins 164.
Extremely rare. A very interesting portrait and a fascinating reverse composition, struck
on a very broad flan and complete. Light iridescent tone and good very fine

Ex NFA XVIII, 1987, 30 and Morton & Eden 51, 2011, 29 sales.
Camarina was founded by colonists from Syracuse ca. 598 B.C., but its relationship with the mother city was very strained. Allied with Gela and native Sicel leaders, Kamarina began a disastrous war against Syracuse in the mid-sixth century B.C. and was destroyed. In 492 B.C., Syracuse was compelled to cede the territory of Kamarina to the Geloans, who rebuilt the city. Unfortunately, the restored Kamarina was attacked and destroyed again by Gelon I, the first tyrant of Syracuse, in 484 B.C. The ruins of Kamarina were abandoned until 461 B.C., when the Geloans again rebuilt it. Despite the history of enmity between Syracuse and Kamarina, the latter joined the alliance proffered by Syracuse at the Congress of Gela in 424 B.C. and remained neutral during the Athenian siege of Syracuse in 414-413 B.C. Following this conflict, Kamarina seems to have enjoyed relative peace until 405 B.C., when the city was sacked by the Carthaginians under Himilco and its population removed to the safety of Syracuse. Kamarina was a difficult city to keep standing. This didrachm was struck during the relatively quiet interlude for Kamarina between the Athenian expedition to Sicily and the removal of the population to Syracuse. The obverse type is a masterful depiction of the nymph Kamarina traversing the sea on the back of a swan — a bird that long served as an emblem of the city. Nike flies above a swan on silver litrae struck by Kamarina already in the mid-fifth century B.C. Here, however, the swan has been given the character of a small boat carried across the surface of the water by the wind caught in the sail created by the nymphs billowing sail. It is a brilliant treatment of the subject matter and illustrates the kind of dynamic artistic experimentation that was taking place on many dies cut for Sicilian coins in the second half of the fifth century B.C. The reverse type is a beautifully preserved depiction of the local river-god Hipparis. Even the delicate eyelashes and pupil of the eye are clear, testifying to the artistry of the engraver. The surrounding legend names the deity lest he be confused with the many other similar river-gods who made their appearances on Sicilian coins.

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