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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1287. Estimate CHF5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF70000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Pharsalos. Late 5th-mid 4th century BC. Drachm (Silver, 6.11 g 7), signed by the engraver Telephantos, with his initial on the obverse and on the reverse, and with those of his ‘pupil’ Ip...on the obverse. Head of Athena to right, wearing pendant earring and crested Attic helmet adorned with a tendril, an eagle’s wing behind which a snake coils to above Athena’s forehead, and a palmette on the visor; in tiny letters behind neck, Τ - Ι - Π. Rev. Φ-Α / Ρ-Σ (last two letters retrograde) Thessalian cavalryman riding horse prancing to left, wearing petasos, chlamys and chiton, and holding a lagobolon over his right shoulder; below, Τ. KF 194 = Lavva 108a. O52/R60 (this coin). A coin of spectacular quality and of the finest style. Nicely toned. Extremely fine.

From the collection of Charles Gillet, ‘Kunstfreund’, Bank Leu/Münzen und Medaillen, 28 May 1974, 194 (CHF 42,000).

A coin of surpassing elegance and beauty. This is certainly one of the finest existing coins of Pharsalos: the present sale does, in fact, give a skewed view of the quality of the coinage of Thessaly, since the lots that appear here are all among the finest known examples of their types. The extremely elaborate helmet decoration on the obverse of this coin was identified as being a griffin by Lavva: given the fact that the tail, part of the body and the neck of the snake are all visible on the obverse, coiling and passing underneath the avian wing on Athena’s helmet, one can only wonder what on earth Lavva thought she was seeing!