218-215 BC Sicily Silver Tetradrachm Phillistis NGC CH AU

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The Silver Tetradrachm of Queen Philistis!

From the desk of GovMint.com's resident ancient coin expert, David Levine:

Minted -- Syracuse, circa 218-215 BC

Grade -- NGC Choice AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5, "FINE STYLE"

Obverse -- Diademed and veiled head of Philistis facing left; torch to right

Reverse -- Nike, holding reins in both hands, driving fast quadriga left; E to left


Diameter -- 27 mm

Levine's Notes

  • Very rare – less than 25 known.
  • In a search of all of the over 1500 major ancient coin auctions of the past 16 years, there have been eight other coins of this type sold.
  • This coin still shows mint shine and looks more like Mint State than About Uncirculated.
  • The detail of this coin is amazing -- it's hard to believe that they could get all those horse legs onto the coin die.
  • Note that this coin is authenticated and graded by NGC and comes with a photo cert. It is not in a slab.
  • Ancient Greek silver tetradrachm coin of the mysterious Queen Philistis who was the wife of Hieron II.
  • Queen Philistis is known only through her coins and one inscription of her name and title on the great theater of Syracuse.
  • Although Queen Philistis is only known from her coins, she was part of some of the most famous events in history. Just when this coin was struck, the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal Barco, set out to capture Rome by bringing his army up through Spain and attacking Rome from the north. This was a change in tactics, since Carthage had always attempted to use Sicily as their stepping stone to Rome. Was it Hieron's power, or skill in negotiations, that led Hannibal to make the long march through Spain and go down in history as the leader of the most famous military march in history?
  • One of the men that helped Hieron build his powerful army was his cousin Archimedes who helped Hieron to develop great fighting ships for his navy. Yet, the most famous story about Archimedes is when Hieron turned to him to test the gold content of a crown that was made for him. Later, while Archimedes was taking a bath, he figured out how to determine the crown's gold content using the displacement of water. He was so excited that he ran home through the streets of Syracuse, naked and yelling "Eureka, eureka!" ("I have found it, I have found it!")
Year of Issue (Date Our Choice)
Composition Silver
Grade AU, Choice
Currency Type Tetradrachm
Dimensions 27mm