The auction will take place in Sotheby’s St George Street Gallery just before Coinex.
Estimated to realise over £4m, the 561 lots include numerous rarities preserved in outstanding condition. Specialist Tom Eden describes it as “probably the finest to appear on the market since the sale of the ‘Prospero’ collection in New York in 2012”.
From the city of Naxos in the Greek colony of Sicily, this exceptional strike of the celebrated silver tetradrachm struck c.460BC is estimated at £400,000-600,000. It used to be owned by Jean-Jacques Barre, chief engraver of the Paris Mint from 1842-55, who perhaps drew inspiration from this very coin.
The style is transitional from archaic to classical. It depicts the head of the wine god Dionysos on the obverse and his woodland companion, the drunken Silenos, on the reverse. The die engraver has been named in modern times as the ‘Aetna Master’ after a unique tetradrachm of Aetna in the Brussels Museum which was issued at the same time.