Ancient Greek Silver Decadrachm Coin by Euainetos of Syracuse, 400 BC

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

About

One of the most famous, beautiful and universally admired coins ever made.

A silver decadrachm, signed by the most celebrated die engraver of all time, Euainetos of Syracuse. Minted by the city of Syracuse, circa 400 BC. From the collection of Roberto Allatini, (1856 - 1927).

The reverse with the head of the water nymph Arethusa, patron deity of Syracuse. She is shown submerged in her fresh water spring, the wild curls of her hair bound with a wreath of sea weeds, loose locks fall and coil around like tendrils of a plant, four playful dolphins frame the scene as they circle around her. The legend reading:

ΣYPΑΚΟΣΙΟΝ

"Of the Syracusans."

The signature of the brilliant artist Euainetos faintly visible below the lowest dolphin, reading:

EYAINE

"Euainetos."

The obverse with a four horse chariot, charging left. The charioteer strains at the reins and strikes with his goad, as he urges the horses ever faster, his long flowing drapery billowing behind. The goddess of Victory descends from the heavens to crown the charioteer with a wreath of laurel. Below, a collection of arms, including aspis (shield), greaves, cuirass, and crested Attic helmet, all joined by a horizontal spear. The legend reading:

ΑΘΛΑ

"Prizes."



The dekadrachms of Syracuse are consistently lauded as the most beautiful and impressive coins of all time.

The large medal-like size, intricacy of design, staggering depth of relief and sheer beauty have captivated all those who have handled these remarkable pieces of silver. Even in antiquity, they were regarded as masterpieces, having inspired countless copies and adaptations in a variety of mediums.

Of the two main engravers, Kimon and Euainetos, who compete with each other for the title of the greatest coin artist of all time, it is Euainetos who is most often considered the victor.

Lenormant wrote:

"The style of Kimon - superior as it is to the finest works that the Renaissance itself has produced in monetary art - appears smaller by comparison with the other. Kimon is a great artist: Euainetos is the greatest of all in the branch that he has cultivated. He is the Pheidias of coin-engraving."

This coin was struck from the earliest and most admired die signed by Euainetos. Arthur J. Evans wrote, "the fine coin with the delta in the field, gives a good impression of the masterpieces of this artist at his best."


Condition: Minor mark to cheek of Arethusa restored.

Weight: 43.40 g.

Diameter: 36.15 mm.


Provenance:

From the collection of Frederick J Woodbridge.

Ex. Sotheby's Zurich, 7th May 1975, lot 60.

From the collection of Roberto Allatini (1856 - 1927).

Ex. Ars Classica-Naville XIII, 27 June 1928, lot 341.

Details

  • Creator
    Euainetos (Artist)
  • Date of Manufacture
    400 BC
    Dimensions
    1.42 in. H x 1.42 in. W x 0.35 in. D
    4 cm H x 4 cm W x 1 cm D
  • Dealer Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Number of Items
    1
  • Reference Number
    LU105223285782
Contact The Seller
Typical Response Time: 1 hour
1stdibs seller since 2014
Located in London, GB
Associations:
  • LAPADA - The Association of Arts & Antiques Dealers
  • International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers' Associations
  • The British Antique Dealers' Association

More from this Seller

Ancient Greek Silver Medallion Coin from Syracuse - 400 BC
Ancient Greek Silver Medallion Coin from Syracuse ...
Silver
A masterpiece of ancient Greek Classical art, from a famous early 20th Century collection. A heavy silver decadrachm minted by the city of Syracuse, Sicily, around 400 BC. The reverse...
Ancient Greek Bronze Figure of Hephaistos, 400 BC
Ancient Greek Bronze Figure of Hephaistos, 400 BC
An ancient Greek bronze figure of Hephaistos, god of fire, dating to the 5th-3rd century BC. Hephaistos is shown seated, nude apart from a pointed craftsman's cap on his head. He res...
Ancient Greek Red-Figure Pottery Lekanis, 350 BC
Ancient Greek Red-Figure Pottery Lekanis, 350 BC
Pottery
An ancient Greek red figure pottery lekanis, produced in Southern Italy during the 4th century BC. The vase painters of Greek South Italy were ultimately inspired by Athenian red-fig...
Ancient Greek Attic Black Figure Pottery Lekythos, 490 BC
Ancient Greek Attic Black Figure Pottery Lekythos,...
Pottery
An ancient Greek Attic black-figure lekythos, dating to circa 490 BC. A joyous scene decorates the body of this elegant black-figure lekythos (oil flask). We see a procession, perhap...
Ancient Greek Archaic Terracotta Female Protome, 550 BC
Ancient Greek Archaic Terracotta Female Protome, 5...
Unknown
Terracotta
An ancient Greek terracotta female votive mask, or protome, dating to around 550 BC. Of striking Greek archaic style, showing a female figure wearing disk earrings, a stephane and a hi...
Ancient Etruscan Pottery Brazier with a Frieze of Beasts, 550 BC
Ancient Etruscan Pottery Brazier with a Frieze of ...
Large ‘Impasto ware’ Braziers such as this held coal in ancient times and were used by the Etruscans for cooking, heating the home and making offerings. They are thought to date to arou...
Ancient Egyptian Bronze Figure of the Goddess Neith, 600 BC
Ancient Egyptian Bronze Figure of the Goddess Neit...
Bronze
An ancient Egyptian bronze figure of the goddess Neith, dating to the late period, circa 600 BC. Of exceptionally fine style, beautifully proportioned and with an attractive patina. ...
Heavy Gold Octadrachm Medallion Coin of Queen Arsinoe II, 253 BC
Heavy Gold Octadrachm Medallion Coin of Queen Arsi...
Gold
A superb example of the heaviest and most valuable gold coin from antiquity. A gold octadrachm issued under Ptolemy II Philadelphus 'sibling lover', in honour of Queen Arsinoe II. Struc...
Ancient Egyptian Alabaster Vase, 1500 BC
Ancient Egyptian Alabaster Vase, 1500 BC
Alabaster
A beautiful, large ancient Egyptian alabaster vase, dating to the New Kingdom, circa 1550-1070 BC. A large and impressive vase, with a ribbed circular base, short body, bulging sligh...
Ancient Egyptian Wooden Shabti, 1295 BC
Ancient Egyptian Wooden Shabti, 1295 BC
A well provenanced and striking ancient Egyptian wooden shabti, dating to the New Kingdom, Ramesside Period, 19th-20th Dynasty, circa 1295-1070 BC. The figure is depicted mummiform, ...
Ancient Egyptian Quartzite Head, 1320 BC
Ancient Egyptian Quartzite Head, 1320 BC
A rare ancient Egyptian quartzite head of an official, dating to the late 18th-early 19th Dynasty, circa 1320-1280 BC. Carved from a block of quartzite, depicting a man wearing a dou...
Elegant Ancient Egyptian Alabaster Vase - 250 BC
Elegant Ancient Egyptian Alabaster Vase - 250 BC
Alabaster
A beautiful, very rare and well provenanced Ancient Egyptian alabaster Hydria, dating to the 3rd century BC. The two part Hydria with circular base, acorn shaped body, short cylindri...