980920. SICILY, Syracuse. Agathokles. 317-289 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 16.92 g, 9h). Struck circa 310-306/5 BC. Head of Kore right, wearing wreath of grain ears, single-pendant earring, and necklace; KOPAΣ behind / Nike standing right erecting trophy to right; AΓAΘOKΛEIOΣ to left, triskeles to lower left. Ierardi 199 (O55/R134); BAR Issue 23; HGC 2, 1536; SNG Copenhagen 766 (same dies). EF, toned. ($4950) Ex Peus 361 (3 November 1999), lot 44.
Agathokles was born in Himera circa 361 BC, the son of a potter who moved the family to Syracuse in the 340’s BC. Tiring of his father’s trade, Agathokles became a soldier, and quickly established himself as an able leader. Agathokles seized power at the head of a mercenary army in a bloody coup in 317 BC. Over the next few years, he strengthened his army and created a formidable navy, and used them to expand his power base throughout Sicily. This inevitably led him into conflict with Carthage, which still controlled territory in western Sicily. The war lasted from 311-306 BC, and only resulted in each side becoming more entrenched in their respective parts of Sicily, with the border between them established along the Halycus River. In 304 BC, imitating the famous Diadochs in the east, Agathokles declared himself king of Sicily, though his power only extended across the eastern part of the island. His later years were more concerned with the consolidation of his power than with expansion. Seeing that none of his progeny could effectively rule in his place, in 289 BC, upon his death bed, Agathokles restored the Syracusan democracy. The coinage of Syracuse during Agathokles’ reign saw a flowering of new types and denominations. While he retained some of the traditional Syracusan types, such as the head of Arethusa surrounded by dolphins, many of his coins presented new types that were more in line with the royal issues throughout the Greek kingdoms to the east. Herakles, Apollo, and Athena were commonly found on his issues, and he even issued an unprecedented series of electrum, a metal that had not been used before at Syracuse. As would be expected, his final phase of coinage saw the royal title used for the first time on coins of Syracuse, a trend that continued on many issues under the city’s subsequent monarchs.
980524. SICILY, Syracuse. Agathokles. 317-289 BC. AR Stater (18mm, 6.88 g, 9h). Reduced standard. Struck circa 304289 BC. Head of Athena left, wearing Corinthian helmet and single-pellet earing / Pegasos flying left; triskeles below. Pegasi 17; BAR Issue 32; HGC 2, 1407; SNG ANS 682-5. EF, toned, edge split. ($2250) From the D.F. Alder Collection. Purchased from Seaby, February 1969.
979009. CARTHAGE. Circa 290-270 BC. EL Stater (19mm, 7.39 g, 1h). Head of Tanit left, wearing wreath of grain, triplependant earring, and necklace with nine pendants / Horse standing right on single ground line. Jenkins & Lewis Group VI, 307-317; MAA 13; SNG Copenhagen –. Good VF, toned, thin flan crack. ($3650) 11
Published on Jun 30, 2014