Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 106 Part I   |   9 - 10 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 175

Estimate: 15'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 12'000 CHF Price realized: 15'000 CHF
Gela. Tetradrachm circa 440-430, AR 17.32 g. Slow quadriga driven r. by charioteer holding kentron and reins; above, Nike flying r. to crown the horses; in exergue, [ΓΕΛΟΙΟΝ] retrograde. Rev. [ΣΟΣΙΠΟΛΙΣ] retrograde. Forepart of man-headed bull r., crowned by a female figure (the nymph Sosipolis?) standing before it. K. Regling, Sammlung Warren 232 (this coin). Rizzo pl. XVII, 21. Jameson 587 (these dies). SNG Ashmolean 1735 (these dies). SNG ANS 70 (these dies). Kraay-Hirmer pl. 56, 159 (these dies). Jenkins 371.22 (this coin, wrong weight).
Very rare. A very intriguing issue with an interesting reverse composition, the work
of a very talented master-engraver. Wonderful old cabinet tone, as usual
weakly struck on obverse, otherwise very fine / about extremely fine

Ex Sotheby’s 2 May 1905, Well Known Amateur, 44; Hess-Leu 36, 1968, 69; Leu 48, 1989, 38; Leu 59, 1994, 55 and Giessener Münzhandlung 82, 1997, 33 sales. From the Matthey, Warren and Harald Salvesen collections.

The ‘Sosipolis’ tetradrachms are perhaps the most famous coins of Gela. The identification of this nymph or goddess, who crowns a man-headed bull with a laurel wreath, is not certainly known, though we are fortunate to know that her name or title is Sosipolis (‘savior of the city’) since it is inscribed in the field. As Jenkins notes in his study of Geloan coinage, the inscription must refer to the woman as there are gold coins struck sometime later at Gela that show the head of the woman accompanied by the inscription Sosipolis. Attempts have been made to identify her with Greek deities, including Demeter and Tyche, with the latter being a good possibility, but she most likely is a water-nymph who in local lore was related to Gelas, the man-headed bull whom she crowns.

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