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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1094. Estimate CHF1250. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF21000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Lamia. Circa 300 BC. Drachm (Silver, 5.67 g 9). Head of the nymph Lamia to right, wearing hair band and pendant earring. Rev. ΛΑΜΙ - ΕΩΝ Youthful Philoktetes, nude and bare-headed, seated on rocks covered by his cloak; he holds his bow and quiver with his right hand and rests it on his right knee; his left hand rests on the rock behind him. BMC 9 and pl. IV, 2 = Georgiou 2, 19 (same dies). Traité IV, 463. Extremely rare. Bright and attractive, with a wonderfully sharp obverse. Reverse slightly double-struck and with a minor edge flaw, otherwise, extremely fine.

A note from BCD: A great rarity and a fascinating coin, the obverse portrait being crafted in the guise of Lamia, the notorious courtesan of Demetrios Poliorketes. Percy Gardner in NC 1878, pp. 266-271, gives a full account of not only the reasons for which he attributes this portrait to her but also of the many anecdotes connected with her life and the influence she had on the Macedonian king. His conclusion was that this is “the only surviving instance of contemporary portraiture of a Greek beauty who was not also a queen” and goes on to see on the reverse “an unmistakable the likeness of Demetrius himself, the handsomest of the Greeks of his time”. And so, if the Athenians and Thebans erected temples in Lamia’s honor, why shouldn’t the citizens of Lamia strike a coin with the portrait of a famous hetaira who was named after their city? Finally, for a rather more explicit (to put it mildly) version of Lamia’s story, go to