Greek Naxos tetradrachm coin shows 92% increase in iconic sale
A tetradrachm from the ancient Sicilian city of Naxos made $603,120 in an auction of iconic Greek coins
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 23 May 2012
A superb Greek tetradrachm, attributed to the Aitna Master of Sicily, brought £384,000 ($603,120) in a London auction on April 23, 2012.
The sale, held in association with Sotheby's, comprised just four lots, each a shining example of Greek coinage.
The tetradrachm made top lot of the sale, showing an increase of 92% against an estimate of £150,000-200,000. The remarkable coin had been described as "...one of the greatest masterpieces of Greek coinage and Greek art in general."
The coin depicts the Greek god of winemaking, Dionysus, on the obverse with his companion Silenos squatting naked and ithyphallic, drinking wine on the reverse. The coin provides a spectacular example of the work of the Aitna Master of Sicily.
Another 5th century BC tetradrachm from the legendary Prospero collection made $850,000 against its pre-sale estimate of $125,000 earlier in the year at Baldwin's.
The auction saw two examples of the work of another master of Greek coinage, Kimon. The two almost identical dekadrachms, produced at Syracuse, depict the nymph Arethusa with dolphins swimming around her head.
The first of the pair, from 405 BC, displays Kimon's first design. It made £240,000. The second, a later improvement with Arethusa rendered in greater relief and signed three times by Kimon, sold for £228,000 against an estimate of £150,000-200,000.
The fourth coin, a 400 BC Syracuse dekadrachm from Euainetos, brought £156,000.
"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," commented the auction house's Tom Eden.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has previously sold this silver Tetradrachm from Rhodes. Coin enthusiasts should view our collection of rare coins for fantastic opportunities to improve your collection.
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Images: Morton & Eden