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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1129. Estimate CHF600. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF16000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 420-400 BC. Drachm (Silver, 6.12 g 12). Thessalos, with petasos and cloak over his shoulders, striding right, holding a band around the head of a rushing bull. Rev. ΛΑΡ - [Ι] / Σ - Α Bridled horse trotting to right, with curly tail; all within shallow incuse square. Herrmann -. Lorber 2008, pl. 42, 45 . Rare. A lovely piece, nicely toned and well struck. About extremely fine.

This is a very perplexing coin, especially since its types seem to be both earlier and later at the same time! The obverse is clearly late 5th century in inspiration, though the modeling and details of the bull-wrestling scene are quite masterfully done. The horse on the reverse is, however, most similar to the trotting horses of the 4th century, especially, given its curly tail, to some of the didrachms (below, lot 1159 and as Lorber 2008, pl. 46, 112-114) and to two of the very rare late profile drachms (as below, lots 1133 and 1134, as Lorber 2008, pl 45, 100). The horse on this coin should probably be seen as their prototype, rather than being down dated to a considerable extent.
A note from BCD: The reverse die of this very attractive coin is not only rarely encountered but also masterfully engraved.