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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1008. Estimate CHF1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF11000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Thessalian League. Circa 361-360 BC. Trichalkon (Bronze, 18mm, 5.67 g 9). Head of Zeus to right, wearing oak wreath. Rev. ΠΕΤΘ - ΑΛΩΝ Forepart of prancing horse to right, emerging from a rock; below, trident head to right. Franke 1970, fig. 20 var. Rogers 2 = Traité IV 598, pl. CCXCIII, 20. Extremely rare, probably the finest known example. A coin of splendid Classical style, with a fine, glossy black patina. Some minor marks and pits on the obverse, otherwise, extremely fine.

This is surely the rarest bronze coin issued by the Thessalian League: it was issued at a time when coinage was being produced all over Greece, often in rather small numbers purely as a way of proclaiming the issuing state’s independence. This was certainly true for many cities in the Peloponnesos beginning in the later 360s: they not only produced bronzes and small silver fractions, often beautifully designed out of civic pride, but also some exceptional staters. It would not at all be surprising if one day some League silver dating to this period would appear: as with the contemporary issues of the Achaian League, it would have been produced in extremely small numbers.
A note from BCD: The reverse of this coin, practically impossible to find in this state, could not be more eloquent. Skyphios is seen bursting wildly from the rock with his head tossed up high, an image that does justice to the legend that he was the father of all horses. Below, Poseidon’s elaborate trident alludes to the creation of Thessaly when the god struck with it the land between the mountains of Olympos and Ossa and created a channel so that the waters that were inundating the plain could escape.