Some engravers were proud enough of their work that they would occasionally sign their dies, a practice largely restricted to the Greeks. Two names in particular, those of Euainetos and Kimon, have been preserved through the millennia by their signatures on coins, including decadrachms. An absolutely captivating specimen, this large silver issue features extremely elegant and rather bold relief, especially noticeable on the hair of Arethusa and the bodies of the horses.
One of the largest silver denominations minted in classical antiquity, the decadrachm of Syracuse remains one of the most alluring and celebrated coins in history. The immense size of this 10 drachm denomination offered the engravers of Syracuse the scope to fully display their mastery of the medium. After a brief “trial run” in the 460s BC, the decadrachm was reintroduced in Syracuse by the tyrant Dionysius following his assumption to power in 405 BC, testament to his grandiose vision to make Syracuse the foremost city in the Greek world. Two of the greatest local numismatic artists, Kimon and Euainetos, produced dies for the new series, each bringing their own distinctive style to the already iconic emblems of Syracuse: A racing four-horse chariot (quadriga) backed with a head of the beautiful Arethusa, nymph of the spring of Ortygia, surrounded by frolicking dolphins. Both engravers took great pride in their designs and signed their dies, much in the manner of a modern artist; both decadrachm types also include dies that have symbols instead of a signature, perhaps indicating they were engraved by apprentices working under the masters, closely copying their work.
Charioteer, holding kentron in extended left hand and reins in right, driving fast quadriga left; above, Nike flying right, crowning charioteer with wreath held in her extended hands; below heavy exergual line, (military harness, shield), greaves, cuirass, and crested Attic helmet, all connected by a horizontal spear
AΘΛA below (off flan)
Head of Arethusa left, wearing triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace; four dolphins swimming around
ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ (off flan)
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.