Classical Work of Art by the Artist Sosion

The ancient coins offered in our Stack’s Bowers Galleries ANA auction are diverse and exceptional, with Syracuse offering more than its fair share of highlights, including the Labors of Hercules; Apollo and Artemis; and the powerhouse Euainetos Decadrachm. The Syracuse coin we highlight here is a Tetradrachm, an unsigned piece from the artist Sosion. Touted as the most important city in Magna Graecia, Syracuse was a major power in the ancient world and rivaled Athens in size during the fifth century B.C. The issuing authority was the period known as the Second Democracy, ca. 465-405 B.C. However, due to it being assigned to the work of Sosion, it can more accurately be attributed to the date range of 415-405 B.C.

The obverse design features an iconic quadriga with galloping horses facing left. The charioteer piloting this vehicle stands at the ready, with Nike flying right crowning the charioteer. In exergue, two dolphins face each other. The reverse design displays the diademed head of the river nymph Arethusa, surrounded by the ethnic – or legend – stating “Syracuse” and four dolphins. Arethusa was a maiden desired by a river deity, who pursued her through the woods until she beseeched Artemis the moon goddess for aid. Through divine intervention Arethusa was transformed into an underground stream and directed to emerge as a fountain on the island of Ortygia, the historical center of the city of Syracuse. The design and artistic style of this piece locate it within the work of the artist Sosion, although his name was not inscribed as was that of some other famous Syracusan coin engravers. This piece has a finely executed large planchet, with expert centering.

Look for this and other ancient and world numismatic rarities in our upcoming August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction and Sale. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this July at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. While our Stack’s Bowers Galleries August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of ancient and world coins for our November 2014 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo and our January 2015 New York International auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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