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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1033. Estimate CHF175. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF6000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Atrax. 3rd or 2nd Century BC. Tetrachalkon (Bronze, 22mm, 11.16 g 5). Laureate head of Apollo to right, his hair bound up in a bun at the back but with some locks falling down the back of his neck. Rev. ΑΤΡΑ / ΓΙΩΝ (retrograde Horse standing right. McClean 4556 var. Rogers 168 var. Rare. A bold and impressive piece struck in high relief. Reddish-green patina. Extremely fine.

This coin provides us with quite a few problems. The first is its date, which has long been thought to be 4th century. It is, however, a large, thick, solid coin, unlike the usual coins we have from that period: it looks later. Another problem is the head on the obverse: this has long been identified as the nymph Bura, but, if so, why the laurel wreath on her head? Surely what we have here is a rather effeminate, Hellenistic head of Apollo with his hair rolled at the back, but with some locks falling down his neck. In addition, if this were Bura she would surely be wearing an earring!