Gemini Auctions sells Arethusa decadrachm coin of Syracuse for $141,600

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.

Augustus gold quinarius
One of just four: the Augustus gold quinarius

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).

Syracuse quadriga decadrachm coin
The obverse of the Syracuse decadrachm coin shows a quadriga

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.

Syracuse Arethusa decadrachm coin
Arethusa looking lovely amongst the 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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