Important ancient Greek coins exhibited by a leading New York gallery in the 1980s and previously in the collection of Mme. Denyse Bérend, the renowned French numismatist, will be sold by specialist London auctioneers Morton & Eden later this month.
Now in a private collection whose owner has consigned them to the November 14 sale, the 13 coins, which date mostly from the fifth century BCE, are expected to raise a total of around £50,000.
Most valuable in the collection are two beautiful silver decadrachms struck in Syracuse in Sicily, circa 400 BCE, from dies by the master engraver Euainetos, one signed [Lot 741], the other not [Lot 742]. They feature on the obverse a charioteer driving a quadriga, a four-horse chariot, with Nike, the goddess of victory, crowning him from above. The reverse bears the portrait of Arethusa, who in mythology became the nymph of the fresh water spring still to be found on the island of Ortygia, the original site of Syracuse. Each coin is estimated at £10,000-15,000.
The same die engraver was responsible for a tetradrachm struck in Katana and dating from circa 412-403 BCE. It shows a charioteer and quadriga with Nike flying from above, holding a wreath and tablet inscribed with the artist’s signature. The reverse bears the laureate head of Apollo, flanked by a bell attached to a knotted cord on the left and a crayfish on the right. Of superb classical style and a rarity, it is estimated at £8,000-12,000 [Lot 738].
From the Mysian city of Cyzicus is an electrum stater of circa 500 BCE, bearing the head of Athena, goddess of wisdom, with long straight hair beneath her Corinthian helmet. Behind her head is a tunny fish which was the symbol of the city. The reverse shows a quadripartite incuse square. The coin is remarkably well preserved and is estimated at £8,000-10,000 [Lot 747].
The coins were present in Denyse Bèrend’s collection prior to 1985 and subsequently exhibited that year in the Edward H. Merrin Gallery in New York.
The collection which is featured as part of a larger sale of coins of all types will be on view on Thursday, Friday, and Monday, November 8, 9, and 12 from 10 am to 4:30 pm or by private appointment. The auction will be at Sotheby’s, with whom Morton & Eden has an association, in the Upper Grosvenor Gallery in the Aeolian Hall, Bloomfield Place, London W1A 2 AA.
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About Morton & Eden Ltd
Morton & Eden are specialist auctioneers of Collectors’ Coins of all periods and types, War Medals, Orders and Decorations, Historical Medals and Banknotes. The company was founded in 2001 by James Morton and Tom Eden, who were both directors of the Coins and Medals Department at Sotheby’s, with whom the company maintains a close association.