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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1135. Estimate CHF1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF36000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 370-360 BC. Drachm (Silver, 6.03 g 1). ΑΛΕΥ Head of Aleuas. three-quarter facing to left, wearing a conical helmet, ornamented with wings and ear flaps, and held on his head by a cord tied below his chin; to right, bipennis. Rev. ΛΑΡΙΣΑΙΑ - ΕΛΛΑ Eagle, with closed wings and head turned back to right, standing left on thunderbolt. BMC 12 = Traité IV, 699, pl. CCXCVIII, 11. Gulbenkian 473 = Jameson 2469. Herrmann Group VIII, pl. VII, 11. Lorber 2008, p. 45, 94. Extremely rare. Lightly toned. Good very fine.

This is one of the rarest issues of Larissa, and also one with the most different interpretations. In one this drachm is meant to have been struck as propaganda for the Aleuad Hellanokrates, whose name appears on the reverse, against the machinations of Alexander of Pherai in 361. Another view sees it as a homage to Alexander III of Macedon, in honor of the supposed joint ancestry of the Macedonian royal house and the Thessalians, and thus it would date to the mid 330s, at the same time as Alexander’s own early eagle coinage. The further possibility of this being a result of Alexander of Pherai’s occupation of Larissa in 370 seems very unlikely.
A note from BCD: Hoard information certainly dismisses the possibility of this coin having been sruck in the 330’s BC. Instead, it points to the first alternative cited above and at any rate to a date soon after the high relief profile drachms such as lots 1133 and 1134 above.