Gemini Auctions sells Arethusa decadrachm coin of Syracuse for $141,600
An Augustus gold quinarius and a Syracuse decadrachm coin showing Arethusa sold at Gemini
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Tuesday 10 January 2012
As we expected, Gemini's auction of rare ancient coins over the weekend (ending January 8) presented some spectacular successes.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the auction was a 3.91g gold quinarius from the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus.
Showing the Emperor on the obverse, head laureate facing right with the words AVGVSTVS - DIVI F beneath him, the impressive coin is one of just four examples known. The reverse shows Victory seated triumphant upon the globe holding a wreath and with the text TR POT - XXVIIII.
The mint state coin was expected to achieve $30,000, but in fact the mint state coin tripled this with a value of $129,800 (including 18% Buyer's Premium).
However, the top lot was indeed the one we focussed in on ahead of the sale: the Arethusa decadrachm coin from Syracuse, previously held bya Chicago collector who owned it for 40 years.
The obverse shows a quadriga galloping left, driven by a charioteer holding reins and directing the horses with a goad. Above him, Nike is flying right to crown the charioteer. In the foreground are a cuirass, two greaves, and a Phrygian helmet.
The reverse shows the head of the nymph Arethusa facing left, wearing a reed wreath, triple ear pendant, and necklace. Beneath her chin is a pellet and around her are four dolphins.
Listed at $50,000 before the auction, the decadrachm came close to tripling that expectation, achieving $141,600.
Extremely fine and rare ancient coins can be fascinating. We currently have a Carian Islands, Rhodes Silver Tetradrachm, showing the facing head of Helios in stock which is available right now.
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Images: Gemini AuctionsBy Paul Fraser