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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     862653
Type:     Greek
Region:     SICILY
City:     Messana
Date Ruled:     412-408 BC
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Tetradrachm
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     BC 412-408
Diameter:     25 mm
Weight:     17.06 g
Die Axis:     8 h
Obverse Legend:     ΣIMIN
Obverse Description:     Charioteer driving biga of mules left; above, Nike flying right, holding wreath and kerykeion; ΣIMIN on exergual line; in exergue, fish left
Reverse Description:     Hare springing left; below, eagle perched right on rock, devouring snake held in talon
Primary Reference:     Caltabiano 627 (D224/R251)
Reference2:     SNG ANS 381
Reference3:     SNG Lloyd 1106
Reference4:     SNG Lockett 832; BMC 56; Boston MFA 297; Gulbenkian 227; Pozzi 1096 (all from the same dies)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     VF, lightly toned
Notes:     Very rare, and having one of the most clear signatures of all examples. The letters on the exergue line on the obverse of this issue have been recognized for some time. Due to their position on the die, a very exposed high point, only fragments are visible on any given specimen. The date of this period of coinage at Messana comports with the general period in Sicily when the master engravers were applying their signatures at various mints. Some of these engravers are known to have placed their signature on an exergue line, most notably Euainetos at Syracuse and Exakestidas at Kamarina, so the appearance of letters on the exergue line of a contemporary issue at Messana is no surprise, and they must also indicate the engraver. The overall style of these is exceptional even among the high quality of the series at Messana at that time, which also suggests these dies were the work of a master engraver. Due to only fragments of the letters being visible on this issue, early numismatists read them as KIMON or KIMΩN (SNG Lloyd 1106). However, this reading was primarily based on the clarity of the second and third letters, combined with the quantity of letter forms visible (see J.H. Jonkees, “Le graveur Cimon À Messana,” RBN 100 [1954]). More recent examples, including the present coin, have allowed a more accurate reading of ΣIMIN (Gulbenkian 226-7 and Basel 368). Simin- is unknown as an engraver who signed dies at any other mint, so it is reasonable to assume that he was a master engraver who was indigenous to Messana. Only a single obverse die is known with this signature (Caltabiano D224), though it was paired with at least three reverse dies. Although Caltabiano identified 35 examples, only about 14 examples remain in private hands. In the past decade, only two have come to market, CNG 40, lot 801, and Triton VI, lot 103.