Ancient Naxos silver tetradrachm coin could be exchanged for $317,000
Showing Dionysos, the Naxos silver tetradrachm coin will sell alongside Syracusian decadrachms
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Tuesday 28 February 2012
Yesterday we reported on the upcoming sale in London of three examples of one of our favourite ever coin types: the Syracusian decadrachms marked with a victorious charioteer on the obverse and the lovely face of the Nereid nymph Arethusa surrounded by dolphins on the reverse.
But these aren't the only great ancient coins being offered in the auction. In fact they're not even the only ones struck in Sicily when it was a colony in the 5th century BC. There is also an exceptionally fine silver tetradrachm from the earliest Greek colony in Sicily: Naxos.
Specialist Tom Eden commented: "Each of these four iconic coins in its own individual way represents an artistic pinnacle of what Greek artists were able to achieve within the confines of a coin at that time."
All four coins hail from an impressive private collection.
The silver tetradrachm of Naxos was minted around 460 BC, and depicts a dignified, bearded Dionysos facing right on the obverse whilst his woodland drinking companion Silenos squats open-legged and naked on the back. Silenos is in the act of raising a cup of wine to his lips once more (or perhaps just peering at it.).
An exceptionally fine example of the type, minted by the Aitna Master, it is currently listed at £150,000-200,000.
Previously part of the famous Lloyd Collection at the British Museum, the coin has a well-documented history including being sold in London previously by Sotheby's in 1899. The auction takes place on Monday April 23.
We've already sold our own ancient silver tetradrachm, but you can still read about it and search for similar items at our online store.
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· Milanese gold Renaissance coin valued at $63,000 'nearly sold for scrap' | 18 February 2012
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Images: Morton & Eden