16 Litrai, c. 240-218/5 BC. Sicily, Syracuse. Philistis, wife of Hieron II (275-215).



The idealized portrait of a 70 year old hellenistic queen

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Greek. Sicily, Syracuse. Philistis, wife of Hieron II (275-215). 16 Litrai / tetradrachm, c. 240-218/5 BC.
Obverse: Veiled head left, wearing a diadem; behind her head palm branch.
Nike holding reins in both hands, driving a slow quadriga right; Φin right field.
Dimensions: AR, 14.00 g, 27 mm, 7h.
References: SNG ANS 871 var.;
HGC 2, 1554;
CCO pl. XIV, 147 (D3 / R6).
Condition: Sharply cleaned, from a used obverse die. Good very fine.
Provenance: From a private German collection,
Ex Bertolami E-Live Auction 64 (2019), 287.
Comment: Portraits of Hellenistic queens are outside the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empire quite rare. At the time this coin was minted, Philistis was around 70 years old. She depicted herself in Hellenistic manners as a young and idealized queen.
This coin was part of a series introduced by Hieron II in which his family was depicted: Hieron II on 32-Litrai and AE-coins, Philistis on 16- and 5-Litrai, and their son Hieronymus on 8- and 4-Litrai.
Unfortunately, there is not much known about Philistis, but it is notable that her idealized portrait is shown on the most important denomination.

Additional information


AR (silver)


14.00 g


27 mm

Die axis

7 h