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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1352. Estimate CHF325. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF7000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Trikka. Circa 440-400 BC. Hemidrachm (Silver, 2.91 g 5). Hero, Thessalos, nude but for cloak hanging over his shoulder, his petasos fallen to the ground below his feet, striding right, his bearded head partially facing the viewer, holding a band in both his hands around the head of the forepart of a bull rushing right. Rev. ΤΡΙ - Κ - ΚΑΙ - ΩΝ (retrograde) Forepart of horse to right (without bridle). Apparently unpublished. Rare, a very intriguing coin, with a most unusual obverse. Good very fine.

The obverse of this coin shows us an elderly and bearded man struggling with the bull: this is quite unexpected since the normal ‘bull-wrestler’ is a beardless youth. Who could this be? A note from BCD: I’m surprised ASW is not aware of the well known depiction of Triccos, the Celtic tribal chieftain who, according to legend, emigrated to Hellas with his retinue of bulls in search of warmer weather and founded the city of Trikka. His tribe, the Turones, were instrumental in the development of the Touraine region in modern-day France and in fact issued commemorative coins of him and his bulls around the middle of the 1st century BC (see H. de La Tour, Atlas des monnaies gauloises, Paris 1892, 6997). He also introduced a form of gift exchange in Thessaly, going from door to door with his bulls and loudly shouting, “Triccos or Treatos”, thus compelling the sturdy burghers of the area to give him things, or otherwise his bulls would rampage through their houses.