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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1108. Estimate CHF850. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF8000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 460-440 BC. Drachm (Silver, 5.36 g 12). Youth, nude but for cloak over his shoulders and petasos hanging from a cord around his neck, holding a band in both his hands around the head of a bull rushing to right. Rev. Λ - Α - R - Ι Bridled horse to left within incuse square. Herrmann Group III B, pl. I, 21(same dies). Lorber 2008, pl. 41, 9. A lovely piece with a dark patina as found. Extremely fine.

Acquired from Spink’s in January 1977 for £ 1100 and ex Glendining & Co., 20 November 1975, 883 (£650).

The true meaning of the obverse scene, the taurokathapsia or games involving men and bulls, was elucidated by Elizabeth Pendleton. She pointed out that the Thessalian hero holds a band, which he is using to control the bull by passing it around the animal’s head and pulling it tight. This is similar to a lasso, but it is a much more strenuous affair and must have required a great deal of skill!