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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1305. Estimate CHF150. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF3200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Pherai. Circa 360s-350s BC. Tessera (Lead, 15mm, 5.15 g 3). Head of a bearded Satyr facing, with animal ears. Rev. ΦΕ Forepart of standing bull to right; to left, double ax. Rogers 526. Very rare. With a lovely Satyr head, of somewhat archaistic style, and with a fine tan patina. Good very fine.

A note from BCD: Lead tokens must have served as proof of voting rights, entrance passes to theaters or other cultural events, fees for river crossings and, often, as a way of distributing goods to entitled citizens (such as grain or other foodstuffs) via a semi-permanent marker that would be exchanged for them. In addition, since lead was easy to melt and reuse, it was ideal for ephemeral activities and could then be made into something else. Lead’s very ephemerality is one reason why so few such tokens have been found, and they must have been produced far more extensively than the surviving examples imply. The existence of the present token indicates that Pherai was a well organized city and functioned according to the rules of an advanced polis.