August ANA Recap Lot 20006: Exceptional Signed Decadrachm by Euainetos

We here at Stack’s Bowers Galleries would like to take a moment to share one
of the great results from our recent August ANA World and Ancient coin sale.
This exceptional
Decadrachm by the master engraver
struck from signed dies
realized an impressive $37,600. The Decadrachms of Syracuse are widely
considered to be among the finest pieces of numismatic art in antiquity, if not
in the entire history of numismatics. This is especially evident when viewed in
person, as the detail and style are marvelous. The Syracusan engravers Kimon
and Euainetos led the period of high artistry in ancient numismatics, with this
having been engraved by Euainetos, and signed by him, attesting to his personal
pride in these dies. The obverse and reverse designs for Syracuse most commonly
depict a quadriga and the water nymph Arethusa. The quadriga design honored the
tyrants of Syracuse. These men were abundantly wealthy, and would frequently
host chariot races and typically sponsored multiple teams within each race.
These contests were great public relation events that boosted the reputation
and esteem of the autocrat of the city, as more often than not one of their
teams was victorious. The nymph Arethusa was a maiden who attracted the desire
of a river deity. He pursued her through the woods until she beseeched Artemis
the moon goddess for aid. Through divine intervention Arethusa was transformed
into an underground stream and directed to emerge as a fountain on the island
of Ortygia, the historical center of the city of Syracuse.

This particular coin displays a quadriga being pulled by galloping horses
driven left by a female charioteer leaning forward with a kentron in right hand
and the reins in left hand. Nike (Greek goddess of Victory) is seen flying
above the horses heading right and attempting to crown the charioteer. A heavy
exergual line appears, separating the quadriga and various military implements,
including an aegis, greaves, helmet and spear. The reverse design bears the
head of the above-mentioned water nymph Arethusa, facing left wearing a barley
wreath necklace and earrings.  The detail
found in the curls of her hair is truly astonishing. The Greek ethnic for
Syracuse appears only partially behind her head. Four dolphins appear around
her head, with the signature of Euainetos under the lowermost dolphin (below
Arethusa’s neck). Unfortunately the signature is off the flan. This considered,
it is a wonderfully rendered example of this scarcely seen signature type. By
applying his mark, Euainetos certainly proclaims his pride (deservedly so) in
this exceptional piece of numismatic art. This decadrachm offers great eye
appeal and is certainly worthy of the most sophisticated collection.

We are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins as well as
world paper money for our October 2017 Collectors Choice Online Auction and the
January 2018 New York International Auction. We are also accepting consignments
of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our April 2018 Hong Kong
Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning
your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity)
be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

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