Syracusan Dekadrachm








This is a forgery of a coin that's often considered to be the most beautiful of all time, the Syracusan dekadrachm. There are several varieties, this one being from the famed celator Kimon and minted c. 405-380 BC.

The above fake, courtesy of John Gainor, weighs 43.1 grams, the correct weight. The styling of the coin is off in several minor ways, including an abnormally long tail of the dolphin under Arethusa's neck. Like the other fakes illustrated here, it likely wouldn't fool an expert, but it just might fool a collector or investor.















Here's a real specimen of the same coin, the variety by the celator Euainetos and minted c. 400 BC in the Greek city-state of Syracuse, which is now part of Sicily, Italy. It weighs 43.0 grams. The coin is in the museum of the American Numismatic Association. In ancient times it was likely minted for payment to Syracuse's mercenary armies.

The obverse of the coin (the convex side) features a charioteer in a quadriga (two-wheeled chariot drawn by four horses). Each horse is individually and beautifully styled. Above the quadriga, Nike, goddess of victory, is crowning the victorious charioteer. In the exergue are a round shield, greaves and a cuirass (armor), a helmet, and the word AOLA or "prizes." The reverse shows a sullen though handsome Arethusa, the patron nymph of Syracuse, with beautifully engraved hair. Four dolphins artistically swim around her. This isn't among the rarest coins, just among the most impressive.








Here's one more.

Coin sites:
Coin Collecting: Consumer Protection Guide
Glomming: Coin Connoisseurship
Bogos: Counterfeit Coins

© 2014 Reid Goldsborough

Note: Any of the items illustrated on these pages that are in my possession are stored off site.