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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Numismatics ▸ SignedView Options:  |  |  | 

Signed Ancient Coins

Some of the finest master die engravers were famous in their own time and even cut dies for several cities. Only the most exceptional die engravers, and even then only rarely, were permitted to sign their work. Most of these "signatures" consist of only a few discrete letters, sometimes hidden in the hair but sometimes more prominent. Examples include KIM for Kimon, FRI for Phrygillos, and EY for Eukleidas.


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysius I, 405 - 367 B.C.

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The model for the head on the obverse is derived from the facing Arethusa by Kimon. This issue is usually attributed to Exakestidas with rare examples signed E or EΞ. Stylistic differences suggest other engravers also worked the issue. This example, signed EE, is of the very finest style and clearly the work of Exakestidas. EΞ was probably intended. No other examples of the type signed EE are known to Forum.
SH83659. Bronze tetras, cf. Calciati II p. 59 ff., 29 (unlisted dies); SNG ANS 385; SNG Cop 679; SNG Mn 1107; HGC 2 1432 (R1, 415-405 B.C.); SNG Tbingen -; SNG Morcom -, aEF, the finest style, nice green patina, light corrosion, edge flaws, weight 2.23 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa facing slightly left, wearing taenia, earring, and necklace, anepigraphic, EE (master engraver signature, blundered EΞ for Exakestidas) lower left below hair; reverse octopus; ex Savoca Numismatik GmbH & Co. KG, auction 6 (9 Apr 2015), lot 68; $630.00 (560.70)


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, 370 - 340 B.C.

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Pharsalos, built on a hillside of the Narthacius Mountains, was one of the main cities in Thessaly. In the Persian Wars, Pharsalos sided with the Athenians. In the early 4th century B.C., the city was a part of the Thessalian League. Later, it joined the Macedonian Kingdom under Philip II. The area became a theater of war where the Aetolians and the Thessalians clashed with the Macedonians, especially during the Second and the Third Macedonian Wars. After the defeat of the Macedonian Kingdom, Pharsalos and the whole area became a part of the Roman Republic. Pharsalos is famous for being the scene of the final battle between Caesar and Pompey.
GS84796. Silver hemidrachm, Lavva 126 (V58/R73), BCD Thessaly II 655, HGC 4 634 (S), VF, superb classical style, centered on a tight flan, marks, porosity, etched reverse, weight 2.886 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 225o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, 370 - 340 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing pendant earring and crested Attic helmet with raised cheek flaps, adorned with scrolls, hair out from under the neck guard, T (the master engraver Telephantos) over IΠ (his apprentice?) behind neck; reverse ΦAPΣ (from upper left, clockwise), horse's head and neck right, concave field; obverse die of the finest style signed by the master die engraver Telephantos, ex BCD with his round tag noting, "T/ne ex Thess., Sept. 1986, 45000 drs."; $280.00 (249.20)


Syracuse, Sicily, c. 415 B.C.; Signed by Phrygillos

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Superb style and signed by the master Phrygillos. Calciati referring to this type notes, "Coins exist signed by signed by Kimon (KIM), Phrygillos (ΦPI), Eukleidas (EY) and by an unknown engraver with the letter E (Eumenes?)." The signature on this coin is clear.
GI74382. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 47, 19 fr 4/7 (same dies); SNG ANS 412; BMC Sicily p. 182, 243; SNG Cop 696 (obv. symbol off flan); SGCV I 1186; HGC 2 1479 (S), gVF, beautiful green patina, some light corrosion, reverse 1/4 off-center but mostly on flan, weight 3.768 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 240o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 B.C.; obverse Head of Arethusa left, hair in sphendone inscribed ΦPI, downward dolphin behind; reverse four-spoked wheel, ΣY−PA divided by spoke across upper two quarters, dolphin head down and inward in each of the lower quarters; SOLD







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