Carthage in Sicily and North Africa. Uncertain mint in Sicily, c. 350-320 BC

Carthage in Sicily and North Africa. Uncertain mint in Sicily, c. 350-320 BC


AR Tetradrachm, 16.95g (23mm, 7h). Head of Tanit-Persephone l., wearing wreath of reeds / Horse prancing r.; behind, palm tree with cluster of dates.

Pedigree: Ex NAC 8, 1995, 197; NGSA I, 2000, 63 and Gorny & Mosch 146, 2006, 81 sales

References: McClean 3037 (these dies). Jenkins Punic Sicily 122

Grade: Rare. A very attractive issue of fine style, lightly toned, an almost invisible porosity on r. reverse field, otherwise EF/aEF (gk1252)

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Carthage, located in northern Africa, was founded in c. 814 BC by the Phoenicians. It was originally dependant on the city of Tyre until about c. 650 BC when it gained its independence. At that point it started to seize control over other Phoenician settlements located in the Mediterranean. With its superior location near the sea it became a trading post for the area. From 600-265 BC Carthage was in periodic wars with nearby Sicily. This coin was struck towards the end of the Sicilian-Carthaginian conflicts. Stylistically the coins of Carthage bear resemblance to their Sicilian counterparts. There were likely Sicilian die cutters that went to work in Carthage as similarities are stark. The goddess Arethusa and the Carthaginian version of Tanit-Persephone are beautifully sculpted. The quadriga which is a standard reverse (or obverse type on some issues) for the Sicilians is transformed into a single horse for the coinage of Carthage.