SELINUS SILVER TETRADRACHM – EXCEPTIONAL AND RARE “VICTORY EMISSION” OF CA. 417-409 BC – MINT STATE NGC GRADED GREEK SICILY COIN (Inv. 13611)
SICILY. SELINUS. Ca. 417-409 BC.
Silver Tetradrachm, 16.91 g, 28 mm.
Obv. [Σ]ELINONTIO[N], Nike driving quadriga right, wreath above, stalk of grain right in exergue.
Rev. River god Selinus, standing left, holding sapling and sacrificing from a phiale above a flaming altar with a cock below, selinon leaf in right field above a bull standing on a base.
Ex NAC 2 (1990), lot 86.
NGC graded MINT STATE, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5, FINE STYLE.
A rare and magnificent coin, this tetradrachm features elaborate figural types, executed in a rich and elegant Greek Classical style. On the obverse Nike, the goddess of Victory, drives a four-horse chariot, with a large wreath, a poignant symbol of victory, above them. The type may refer to a victory in the games held at Delphi, in which the elite of the Sicilian city-states often competed. However, the same type may alternately celebrate a military success, possibly the defeat of Segesta by Selinus in 417 BC or that Athens in 413 BC where Selinus was allied to Syracuse. The reverse is devoted to a religious theme. It shows the local river god Selinus in human form as a Greek youth, standing in his sanctuary and performing sacrifices. With a phiale in his right hand he pours out a libation upon an altar with burning offerings, while below him strides a cock, another offering. To his lower right is the figure of a bull, yet another form of the river god, shown standing on a base while above it is the selinon leaf, a special herb that grew in the area and after which the city is named.
The coin in struck in high relief from fresh dies, with razor sharp details preserved throughout. It has earned the exceptional MINT STATE designation from NGC, together with the coveted “FINE STYLE” label. With a 1990 pedigree, it is without a doubt the finest specimen that has come to the market in nearly two decades.