Exceptional Signed Decadrachm by Euainetos

The inaugural preview for our August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction features
a very exciting coin. 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. Still, 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 still accepting consignments for our August 2017 Official Auction
of the ANA World’s Fair of Money through late May. We are also accepting
consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2017
Hong Kong Showcase Auction. In addition to this, we are currently taking
consignments of world and ancient coins and world paper money for our January
2018 New York International Auction. 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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