SICILY. Messana (as Zankle). Circa 500-493 BC. Drachm (Silver, 23 mm, 5.88 g). DANKLE Dolphin to left within the sickle-shaped harbor of the city. Rev. Nine-part design of raised and sunk squares and triangles; in the center, cockle shell. BMFA 285. Gielow Group 4, 40-41 (same obverse die) and 44 (same reverse die). HGC 2, 766. Rizzo pl. XXV, 4-5. SNG ANS 302. A well pedigreed example with beautiful old collection toning. Minor die rust on the obverse, as is typical for this obverse die, otherwise, good very fine.
From the Jolimont Collection and the collection of Prof. Robert Gaupp Jr. (1907-1978), ex Münzen & Medaillen AG 32, 20 October 1966, 44.
When the Greek city of Zankle (lit. 'sickle') was founded in the 8th century BC at the location of an older Sicel settlement, its name was taken from the shape of its harbor, which is protected from the open sea by a peninsula in the shape of a sickle. The city lacked agricultural hinterland, but it nonetheless prospered due to its strategic location on the important strait between Sicily and Italy. In circa 488 BC, however, Zankle was captured by Anaxilas, the tyrant of its rival Rhegion on the other side of the strait, who settled Messenian colonists from the Peloponnese within its walls and renamed it Messana.