Even if you’re not a professor of art history or a dealer in the high-end art world, you’re likely familiar with names such as Picasso, van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Mondrian. Those appellations instantly evoke the artistic styles for which they are known and admired, and are an entire market in and of themselves. Within ancient numismatics, the practice of signing one’s work wasn’t unknown, with those who were the most accomplished at their craft leaving their signature to be recognized for centuries to come. One of the most celebrated among these classical artists was Euainetos, who flourished in the Sicilian city of Syracuse toward the end of the 5th century B.C.
With his signed work appearing just after that of Kimon, Euainetos was quite likely an apprentice or understudy to the former, continuing the engaging designs that graced the impressive dekadrachms of the city. While tetradrachms are the much more commonly encountered “large” silver denomination in the ancient Greek world, it is the dekadrachm that allowed the broadest flan—generally between the size of a half dollar and a silver dollar—on which the engraver could express their artistry. Meanwhile, their thick nature presented the possibility of very high relief. Euainetos utilized each of these aspects to great artistic advantage. The horses that form the quadriga seem to float majestically above the ground line, while the countenance of Arethousa offers subtle contours, contrasting with her somewhat wild and well-defined hair. The issues of the artist can be encountered with his abbreviated signature placed near the peripheries, and this adds to the intense desirability of such coins, even if only partially visible.
Our 2021 January World and Ancient coin auction—an officially sanctioned auction of the 2021 NYINC—will feature one of these dekadrachm, complete with Euainetos’ marker. The present specimen will undoubtedly generate tremendous enthusiasm, as it features a rather well centered strike on a beautifully toned and struck flan. Meanwhile, Euainetos’ signature, appearing as “EYAINE,” graces the surfaces, leaving no uncertainty as to the origin of the piece. While acquiring a piece by the master artists mentioned above may be possible for only a very few worldwide, purchasing one of the fabled dekadrachms of Euainetos is well within reach for the advanced collector seeking exceptional ancients coins.
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We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for our future auctions, and are currently accepting submissions through January 15, 2021 for our April 2021 Hong Kong auction. Our next CCO (Collectors Choice Online) auction will be crossing the block in February 2021. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.