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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90041158
Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1158. Estimate CHF7500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF65000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 356-342 BC. Stater (Silver, 12.06 g 12). Head of the nymph Larissa facing, turned slightly to the left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace. Rev. ΛΑΡΙΣ / ΑΙΩΝ Horse crouching to right, preparing to roll. Cf. BMFA 896 = Herrmann pl. V, 3 = Lorber,Staters Type I, O1/R1 a (the Boston example) but our piece is apparently unpublished and from different dies. Extremely rare, apparently the second and finest known example with a crouching horse reverse. Some corrosion on the edge, otherwise, about extremely fine.


The earliest staters of Larissa seem to have formed a single issue that bear the normal types of a drachm; a nearly facing head of Larissa and a horse with its head down, preparing to roll over. For unknown reasons it was decided to change this reverse type almost immediately and use a more noble, prancing horse (as in the following lots). It may well be that the initial issue was also recalled and restruck given how rare the crouching horse staters are (apparently two are in museums and this is the only known example in private hands).
A note from BCD: ASW is not at fault when he mentions above “apparently the second known example” and soon after “apparently two are in museums.” If anyone, it is BCD who is responsible for these conflicting statements. When I visited the coin cabinet in Munich back in the 1960’s, I was hosted by a very kind and helpful curator, Dr. Harald Küthmann, who showed me all I wanted to see and took down my requests for photos and casts of the rarities that, at the time, I thought were worth recording. If my memory is not playing games with me, there was such a stater in the trays at that time. What is very strange indeed is that I have no record of it. I still have all the excellent casts and photos that were soon sent to me from Munich at no charge whatsoever. The only explanation that comes to mind is that I was not advanced enough as a collector to recognize the rarity of this coin and request a cast and a photograph. However, in the recently published SNG Thessaly of the Munich holdings there is no such coin listed or photographed. Perhaps my memory did play a trick with me after all... The Boston coin I remember very well as, many years ago, I requested a special appointment in order to see it and was able to examine it carefully, noting that it was scratched and not particularly attractive. At the time though, the image of such an incredibly rare stater was nothing more than another ‘dream coin’ in a young collector’s imaginary cabinet.