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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1038. Estimate CHF800. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Eurymenai. Circa 2nd quarter of the 4th century BC. Chalkous (Bronze, 15mm, 4.51 g 5). Bearded male head to right, head bare. Rev. ΕΥΡΥ Bunch of grapes on stalk between two grape leaves. Unpublished. Apparently unique. A coin of superb style with a fine brown patina. About extremely fine.

This coin, hitherto unknown, is quite a surprise. Its thick and solid flan makes it likely that it was struck slightly before the more common, albeit still very rare, issues bearing a head of the young Dionysos (as the following lot). Exactly who is on the obverse is rather uncertain: the lack of any wreath on the head makes it unlikely to be Zeus (or Poseidon or Dionysos), so it may, perhaps, be a local hero.
A note from BCD: If this coin was a surprise for ASW it was a relevation for this collector, who always nutured a theory in the back of his mind that the bronze coinage of Thessaly started earlier than it was generally thought. The discovery of this coin, that he thinks may go back to almost the turn of the century, c. 400, reinforces his feeling that at that time some Thessalian townships initiated the minting of bronzes more as an experiment than as bulk issues of fiduciary money, obviously influenced by the example of western mints. This is the reason why there are no signs of haste or carelessness in their production and that the artistic standard of the die cutters called upon to engrave the dies is unusually high. Needless to say, this coin is highly thought of by the collector and he hopes that the buyer will be someone who shares his beliefs, and is prepared to search for other such early Thessalian bronzes with the aim of an eventual publication.