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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1119. Estimate CHF400. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF950. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 450-430. Obol (Silver, 0.63 g 5). Head of Jason wearing petasos to right. Rev. ΛΑ - Ρ Petasos and kerykeion; all within incuse square. CNG Electronic Auction 170, 2007, 42 (this coin). Apparently unique. Some dark deposits and surface roughness, otherwise, good very fine.

Ex CNG Electronic Auction 170, 8 August 2007, 42 ($950).

This is a fascinating coin, but it is also somewhat enigmatic. When it first appeared it was dated to the first quarter of the 5th century, on analogy with the previously known Jason issues from Larissa, which are surely dated that early. However, the legend on this coin clearly bears a standard rho, without the short leg found on all Larissan issues of the first half of the 5th century: this coin simply has to be later than that. In addition, the style of the head is similar to that of the heads of Hermes found on coins of Ainos beginning in the later 2nd quarter of the 5th century and the head has a semi-profile eye; thus, a date after the mid-5th century seems certain. As for the reverse, the curious curved object found next to the kerykeion was described as being a fibula of a typically Etruscan type, the leech or sanguisuga, named after its leech-like shape. Unfortunately this does not look like one of those fibulae since it has symmetrical turned up ends, which sanquisuga fibulae do not have, and lacks any sign of a pin catch. The present identification, as a petasos, is slightly more satisfactory, but is also not entirely convincing: it is, perhaps, shown from the front, rather than from the side as it usually appears.