A sale of ancient Greek coins is expected to realise over $1m in London next week, despite comprising just four lots.
The sale, which is scheduled for Monday April 23, will feature four Greek coins dating to the 5th century BC, each struck in Sicily which, at the time, was a Greek colony.
The first and most valuable lot has been described as an undisputed masterpiece of 5th century Syracuse. Made by master engraver Kimon around 405 BC, this pair of dies is considered to be the only one to be engraved by the master himself.
The dekadrachm depicts a fast quadriga driven by a charioteer with the Greek goddess Nike holding a wreath to crown him. The reverse shows the nymph Arethusa surrounded by dolphins. An estimate of $200,000-300,000 has been set for this important piece.
A second piece by Kimon will also feature in the auction. While almost identical to the previous lot, this later example reveals the same charioteer rendered in greater relief. The coin has been signed three times by Kimon who was evidently particularly pleased with his work. It represents one of the finest known examples of its kind. The item will be sold with an estimate of $150,000-200,000.
Another coin, this time a tetradrachm from the city of Naxos, shares the pre-sale estimate of $150,000-250,000. It depicts the god of winemaking Dionysus on the obverse with his drunken companion Silenos squatting nude and raising a wine cup on the reverse. Attributed to the Aitna Master in 460 BC, the tetradrachm was the first coin to employ a fully developed reverse type.
Finally, the finest known dekadrachm by Euainetos will also sell for $150,000-$200,000. This superb piece is perfectly centred and features a remarkably clear signature from the artist. While Euainetos dekadrachms are in relatively good supply, this unique example is unrivalled in its clarity and deftness of execution.
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