Jump to content

A Syracuse Tetradrachm


Nerosmyfavorite68
 Share

Recommended Posts

655441A.jpg.39457fa03a407852b5e9237cc282008c.jpg

655441R.jpg.f4b0ec2dc6a1ca1fd6b0734175f35e23.jpg

24 mm.  16.0g.  the vcoins' section of numiscorner has an annoying habit of leaving out important things, such as weight.  Their own website showed the coin, and that said 16g. Crystalized?

I always wanted a Syracuse Tetradrachm, and this was in the realm of my regular coin buys, so I bought it.  I was expecting a ghastly coin, as the photo is about as unflattering as it gets.  It actually looks much better in person; I was surprised.

Does anyone have a correct attribution on this?  I'm relatively sure they missed the attribution.  Is it a more decrepit version of this one? https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/a_h_baldwin__sons_ltd/19/product/sicily_syracuse_silver_tetradrachm/1706397/Default.aspx

This is my second order from Numiscorner. It arrived just as quickly as my previous order (the fastest of any of my European non-DHL orders), in a fancy mailer.  I also like how they got around vcoins' size limit by making each image separate and ending up with a much larger picture.

Question; how does the spalling happen?

 

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor
Posted (edited)

Nice puck up!  Your tetradrachm is from the Second Democracy, 465-405 BC.  The reverse types have different hair styles.  Your coin is similar to this one that I acquired at the CNG Electronic Auction 518, lot 31:

SICILY, Syracuse. Second Democracy. 465-405 BC. AR Tetradrachm (25.5mm, 16.91 g, 10h). Struck circa 430-420 BC. Charioteer driving quadriga right; above, Nike flying right, crowning horses / Head of Arethousa right, hair in thin bands; four dolphins around. Boehringer Series XXII, 670 (V338/R457); HGC 2, 1320; SNG ANS 220 (same dies). Old collection tone, flan crack, flan flaws. VF.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group 57 (4 April 2001), lot 106.

849134241_D-CameraSyracuseTetradrachmSecondDemocracy466-05BC16.92gCNGeAuct51831VF6-25-22.jpg.9d59030b986264aea82e5c362873409e.jpg

Like you, I reverse the display of the coin, with the reverse to the left and obverse to the right.  CNG did the same with this coin for their auction image.  Usually, with these coins, the chariot side is poorly struck, often with rusted/worn dies, while the reverse is the side with the greatest art.  The irregular and often flawed flans don't help.

I don't see much crystallization on your coin, but there is corrosion.  It is possible that horn silver was originally there and then removed, exposing the pitted surfaces.  Sometime the cleaning of horn silver goes too far and usually should be left alone, since it is an altered surface of the coin, yet still incorporating the design.

Here's another Syracuse tetradrachm from the same period in my collection.  It has a good amount of horn silver along with some corrosion.  The horn silver actually filled in a flaw on the edge of the flan.

2782709_D-CameraSyracuseTetradrachmSecondDemocracyreducedimage11-14-20.jpg.b5daf9b9b82f15eb260f49d2b690c10b.jpg

 

Edited by robinjojo
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, thanks! They had it as Hieron I. I like your example!

Affordable examples don't come along very often and mine will have to do.  The photo brought out about every flaw, so the coin stuck around for months.  I was actually pleased by the unboxing, as it looked much less ghastly under regular lighting in its flip. And that's not just me trying to make it sound better. If it looked that bad in person, I'd be the first to say so.

I'm actually more pleased with this than with a somewhat recent Nero Sestertius, which cost slightly more.

As I'm the very definition of a lousy coin photographer, I don't think I could do much better at the moment.  I'm of the opinion that diffused lighting would probably yield much better results, more akin to what I see in-hand. To be fair, it would probably take a very skilled photographer.

I'm happy with Numiscorner, so it makes 2 of 2 successful buys.  I just wish they'd make their vcoins listings a bit less cryptic.  That template doesn't allow for a whole lot of description.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

I agree that diffuse light is best with silver coins.  Any artificial, be it from a lamp or flash will washout the detail, even for toned coins.  That light can be corrected in Photoshop to some extent, but the results are usually not great.  Diffuse light allows for the natural colors to stand out.

I use a 4X macro lens attached to my digital camera.  Initially, while I was learning to use the camera, I used a 5X lens, which created images that highlighted every surface flaw or changes in thickness, which can be numerous with ancients, especially bronze but also silver as well.  

I think that your coin is a good acquisition.  Syracusan tetradrachms are devilishly difficult to purchase.  Because of the beauty of the dies, especially the portrait dies, these coin attract a lot of attention whether listed by dealers or auction houses.  The Second Democracy coins, as I mentioned, are particularly problematic.  Any coin that has a decent, roundish flan, well centered strike with nice detail, and lacking in die rust/corrosion/horn silver command premiums, sometimes of a considerable nature.  The buying of these coins is driven as much by desirability as their scarcity. 

Buying ancient coins is often a practice in compromise, constrained in good portion by the size of one's wallet.  Personally I am mostly a mid-grade collector. While condition does matter to a certain extent, I find other factors such as style of equal, if not greater importance.  The two Second Democracy tetradrachms that I posted do have "issues".  But, I think the style of the reverse portraits more than make up for the other deficiencies, at least in my book. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

although corroded, the coin is quite identifiable. I would say Boehringer 675 (V338/R462) Group V series XXII  circa 430-420 BC 

congratulations for this acquisition.

 

BoehV338.JPG.b1d4a55fe7bf24fd024fbda24ae9dacc.JPG

BoehR462.JPG.48d1b42fd66a216a13228fa8b944671a.JPG

 

Edited by Brennos
  • Like 13
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had the option to purchase a better example (just ok, though) of a slightly different type - the same style as the bottom coin you displayed, but opportunity cost won out and I chose the Apsimar Solidus, which was my favorite buy of the year.

18 minutes ago, robinjojo said:

I think that your coin is a good acquisition.  Syracusan tetradrachms are devilishly difficult to purchase.  Because of the beauty of the dies, especially the portrait dies, these coin attract a lot of attention whether listed by dealers or auction houses.  The Second Democracy coins, as I mentioned, are particularly problematic.  Any coin that has a decent, roundish flan, well centered strike with nice detail, and lacking in die rust/corrosion/horn silver command premiums, sometimes of a considerable nature.  The buying of these coins is driven as much by desirability as their scarcity. 

Buying ancient coins is often a practice in compromise, constrained in good portion by the size of one's wallet.  Personally I am mostly a mid-grade collector. While condition does matter to a certain extent, I find other factors such as style of equal, if not greater importance.  The two Second Democracy tetradrachms that I posted do have "issues".  But, I think the style of the reverse portraits more than make up for the other deficiencies, at least in my book. 

I agree.  Coin collecting is a compromise, and I'm not in the $1,000+ field.  I'm only out the cost of a bi-weekly buy and I have the satisfaction of being in the Syracuse Tetradrachm club.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just re better examples, with these Boehringers (mid to late 600's  in numbering) there really aren't  that many of a "good" standard. They are heavily worn (various speculations as to why....)

Here are examples from Lockett's own record pages.  He was one of the better  known and certainly richest collectors of the early 20th century and  even his collection of these particular types are worn.

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot (60).png

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always wondered how it came to be that they had the finest die cutters and striking crews that could not strike coins on center.  I selected mine as easily identifiable by the huge die break on the reverse.  It appears to me that the strikers were trying to keep striking coins while the replacement die was being made.  It was hit harder on the side without the break causing full legends, a nice face and flat hair.  Another blow might have made a better looking coin or it might have destroyed the die. I got this one cheaper in 1991 because it is defective but IMO the defect makes it more interesting. Boehringer 703 (v345/r481)

 

g20430bb0480.jpg

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...