Sicily & Carthage

Ancient Carthage was a Semitic civilization centered on the Phoenician city-state of Carthage, located in North Africa on the Gulf of Tunis, outside what is now Tunis, Tunisia. It was founded in 814 BC. Originally a dependency of the Phoenician state of Tyre, Carthage gained independence around 650 BC and established a hegemony over other Phoenician settlements throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa and what is now Spain which lasted until the end of the 3rd century BC. At the height of the city's prominence, it was a major hub of trade with political influence extending over most of the western Mediterranean.


For much of its history, Carthage was in a constant state of struggle with the Greeks on Sicily and the Roman Republic, which led to a series of armed conflicts known as the Greek-Punic Wars and Punic Wars. The city also had to deal with the potentially hostile Berbers, the indigenous inhabitants of the entire area where Carthage was built. In 146 BC, after the third and final Punic War, Carthage was destroyed and then occupied by Roman forces. Nearly all of the other Phoenician city-states and former Carthaginian dependencies fell into Roman hands from then on.

SICILY.  SELINUS.  Ca. 540-480 BC. AR Didrachm. 20mm, 9gr. Obv. Selinon leaf. Rev. Incuse square with linear patterns. Arnold-Biucci Group I; Selinos Hoard 20 (same dies); SNG ANS 676 (same dies); HGC 2, 1207 (same dies as illustr.). Attractively toned and well struck. NGC graded Ch AU 5/5, 5/5.

From the Elwood Rafn Collection.

SICILY. SYRACUSE.  Ca. 480-470 BC. AR Obol (litra), 8mm, 0.69gr. Obv. Head of Arethusa right, within dotted circle. Rev. Four-spoked wheel. Boehringer 279-285; HGC 2, 1371. A small coin almost never encountered in such an exceptional grade and degree of preservation. NGC MS★ 5/5, 5/5.

SICILY. Syracuse. Agathocles (317-289 BC). AR Tetradrachm. 26mm, 17.09gr ca. 310-305 B.C. Pre-royal coinage, Agathocles as Tyrant, ca. 310-305 BC. Obv: Wreathed head of Arethusa facing left wreathed with grain ears, wearing triple-pendant earring and necklace, three dolphins around, "NI" below neck truncation. Rev: Charioteer holding kentron and reins driving a fast quadriga left, triskeles above, AI monogram in exergue. An absolutely stunning example, leaving little to be desired. Great centering, allowing for a good portion of the obverse beaded border and the full reverse design evoking the finely styled decadrachms of Euainetos struck a century earlier. What really elevates this exquisite piece is the toning, with gorgeous cerulean toning amongst Arethusa's hair seems to reinforce her presence in an aquatic realm. The reverse also features beautiful toning, with similar cerulean and some azure hues melding with breath-taking sunset and rose surrounding the vigorous horses. NGC Ch. AU★ 5/5, 5/5. Fine Style. 


Purchased from Catherine E. Bullowa-Moore in 1987.

SICILY. SICULO-PUNIC COINAGE OF ENTELLA, ca. 300-289 BC. Silver tetradrachm, 16.46 g., 25 mm. Obv. Head of Herakles right, wearing the lion skin. Rev. Horse head left, palm tree behind, Punic inscription below. Jenkins, Punic 372 (O115/R302). Perfectly centered with all the pertinent details on planchet. NGC graded AU★ Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5, Fine Style.

SICILY, Syracuse. Fifth Democracy. 214-212 BC. AR 8 Litrai (22mm, 6.8gr). Obv: Head of Athena left, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, single-pendant earring, necklace, and aegis. Rev: Winged thunderbolt; ΣYPAKOΣIΩN above, ΞA below. Burnett 28. SNG ANS 1046. SNG Lockett 1023. ex CNG 32 (12/1994), Lot 100. NGC Ch AU★ 5/5, 5/5, Fine Style.

SICILY, Syracuse. Philistis, wife of Hieron II. 275-215 BC. AR 16 Litrai – Tetradrachm (26mm, 13.27gr). Struck circa 240-215/4 BC. Obv: Diademed and veiled bust left; torch behind. Rev: Nike driving galloping quadriga right; E to lower right. Burnett 47; SNG ANS 884. NGC Ch AU, 5/5, 5/4, Fine Style.

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