SICILY. Syracuse. Time of Dionysios I. 405-367 B.C. Æ tetras. 2.07 gm. 14 mm. Dies attributed to Exakestidas. Struck circa 390 B.C. Head of the nymph Arethousa facing slightly left / Octopus. SNG ANS 385. CNS II p. 59, 29. SNG Copenhagen 679-680. Boehringer pl. 39, 26. Superb. Ineffably lovely nymph, and beautiful green patina.
Ex Frank Sternberg Auktion XVI (15 November 1985), lot 73.
Ex Maurice Laffaille collection (Monnaies et Médailles S.A. Vente Publique 76, 19-20 September 1991), lot 212 (realized 1100 Swiss Francs).
Lot includes copy of Vente Publique 76 auction catalog.
According to CNS, "the model for the head on the obverse is derived from the facing Arethusa by Kimon." This example, attributed to Exakestidas, is of the most exquisite style, an example of the brilliance of late 5th century die engraving in Sicily, where some of the finest engravers in the Greek world were working. (Cf. note on lot 10.)
In the late fifth century B.C. in Sicily, a number of masters of Greek art were working and competing with each other, engraving and signing coin dies that created arguably the greatest art in all of Greek coinage. This explosive period of innovation resulted in the revolutionary facing head on coins, as you see here, greatly dramatizing the aesthetic effect. (Cf. lot 10.)
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