Siculo-Punic Coinage. Sicily, uncertain mint.
Tetradrachm, c. 330 BC. (Silver, 17.09g., 26.2mm). Head of Tanit to left, wearing wreath of reeds, triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace, her hair bound up at the back / Stallion prancing to right with a palm tree behind. Gulbenkian 364 (same dies). Jameson 913 (this coin). Jenkins, Punic Sicily, III, 127 (O42/R114’, listed twice). L. Mildenberg, Sikulo-Punische Münzlegenden, SNR 72 (1993), 24 (this coin). SNG Lockett 1037 (same dies).
This is surely one of the most elegantly beautiful coins to have been made in the 4th century BC. The quality is quite simply outstanding. The term ‘Siculo-Punic coinage’ is used to describe the money that was produced under Carthaginian auspices to pay for military expenses outside of North Africa (primarily in Sicily) during the 4th century BC. The coin types were partially taken from the coins produced by the Greek cities of Sicily – as the obverse here, which is clearly based on the Arethusa created by Euainetos in Syracuse – and partially on Punic compositions. The Carthaginian authorities were able to hire some of the finest engravers available in Sicily to make the dies for this series: so many of the Sicilian cities had lost their independence that competition for the services of the top engravers was negligible. This piece, and the following, are perfect examples of the great pride that the Greeks and their immediate neighbors took in having coins that were both of good silver and good weight, as well as being beautiful to the beholder. Later Carthaginian issues from Sicily show a distinct falling off in standards.
Grading/Status: A coin of quite outstanding beauty, a magnificent example of late classical style. Tiny flan crack, otherwise, good extremely fine.
Collection of J. Abecassis, Leu 81, 16 May 1981, 121.
Bank Leu 42, 12 May 1987, 138.
Collection of C. Gillet, Monnaies et Médailles 43, 12 November 1970, 21.
Collection of R. Jameson.