405 BC SICILY SYRACUSE AR DECADRACHM
NGC XF Strike: 4/5 Surface: 4/5Sicily, Syracuse, c. 405-400 BC. AR Dekadrachm (43.23 g) by the artist Euainetos. Charioteer driving fast quadriga left, holding kentron in right hand, reins in left; above, Nike flying right crowning charioteer; below exergual line, cuirass, shield, greaves, helmet and horizontal spear. Reverse: Head left of Arethusa wearing necklace and drop earring, surrounded by four dolphins; below lower dolphin.
The Ancient Greek large silver decadrachm (10-drachm) coin from Syracuse is regarded by many collectors and numismatists as the finest coin produced in the ancient world, and the finest example of Classical Greek numismatic art.
The Classical period saw Greek coinage reach a high level of technical and aesthetic quality. Larger cities now produced a range of fine silver and gold coins, most bearing a portrait of their patron god or goddess, or a legendary hero on one side, and a symbol of the city on the other. The wealthy cities of Sicily produced some especially fine coins. Greek coinage of Sicily reached heights of artistic brilliance during this period, particularly in the late fifth century BC, through the exceptionally skilled die engravers who signed their masterful dies, which served as an inspiration to die-engravers elsewhere, and set a new standard for numismatic art.
The large silver decadrachm was an enormous coin weighing 43 grams, compared to the smaller silver tetradrachms only weighing 17 grams. Because of their size and rarity, it has been long thought that these coins were struck as commemoratives, celebrating victories at war, designed by the artist Cimon, and produced from about 405 BC-400 BC.