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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1095. Estimate CHF3000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF42000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 500-479 BC. Drachm (Silver, 5.11 g 4). Horse with head lowered, grazing to left. Rev. ΛΑΡΙ-ϞΑΙΟ-Ν Sandal of Jason to left with double-ax above; all within shallow incuse. BMC 1 = Traité I, 1411, pl. XLIII, 2. Herrmann Group I and pl. I, 2 (obverse)/3 (reverse). Jameson 2467 (this coin). Kunstfreund 143 (this coin). Extremely rare. Nicely toned but with slightly rough surfaces. Nearly extremely fine.

From the collections of C. Gillet, Kunstfreund, Bank Leu/Münzen und Medaillen, 28 May 1974, 143 (CHF 17,000) and R. Jameson.

This is the first issue of Larissa, and with it began the most important silver coinage of Thessaly of the 5th and 4th centuries BC.
A note from BCD: I remember the set up of the table - a much smaller and narrower Π-shaped table when compared to the table of today’s events at the Baur au Lac - for the Kunstfreund auction, back in the spring of 1974. Simon Bendall, with whom I shared my bids, was seated on my right. Ernesto Santamaria (who bid against me on the Arcadian League stater) was sitting across from us, at the other leg of the table. Georges Muller was sitting further to the right of us, nearer the head of the table, with two of his clients, one seated next to him and the other behind him. Herbert Cahn and Leo Mildenberg would alternate at the rostrum and the bidding was so fierce that the numbers seemed to lose their importance. It took only seconds for a coin to reach its hammer price that was, more often than not, a multiple of the estimate. It was there that I found out for the first time what a ‘High Powered Coin’ is and that, in order to obtain any such coins, one had not anymore to think in terms of money but in terms of ‘acquistion desire’. Needless to say, this Larissa archaic drachm was very close to the top of my priority list and therefore the price paid for it at the time was far too high. One wonders what its hammer price will be at this auction...