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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 3 & 4, Lot: 1432. Estimate CHF2500. 
Closing Date: Monday, 9 May 2011. 
Sold For CHF9000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 365-340s BC. Lot of twelve of the late facing head silver drachms of Larissa. . All of these drachms have a facing head of the nymph Larissa turned slightly to left on their obverses; on their reverses all show a horse preparing to roll over - on the first two all four hooves are on the ground, on the remaining ten the left forefoot is raised and bent; the legend on the first ten is ΛΑΡΙΣ / ΑΙΩΝ, on the last two, ΣΑΙΩΝ / ΛΑΡΙ. 1432.1 6.02 g 12. Herrmann pl. V, 7 and 9 var. 1432.2 6.06 g 7. Herrmann pl. V, 7 and 9 var. 1432.3 5.87 g 9. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var. 1432.4 5.79 g 10. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var, 1432.5 5.95 g 9. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var. 1432.6 6.06 g 6. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var. 1432.7 5.56 g 6. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var. 1432.8 5.97 g 3. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var. 1432.9 5.99 g 5. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var. 1432.10 5.68 g 5. Herrmann pl.V, 5 and 8 var. 1432.11 6.16 g 11. Herrmann pl. V, 6 var. 1432.12 6.05 g 5. Herrmann pl. V, 6 var. A nice group, all lightly toned and attractive, some struck from rare dies. Very fine or better (12).

No attempt has been made to give these coins more than the most general reference: we hope the buyer of this lot will enjoy searching out other examples from the same dies in the literature! In any case, it is remarkable how the artists who engraved the dies for this prolific coinage managed to produce such uniformly attractive heads in the later stages of Larissa’s minting of drachms. Unlike the often startling heads of Larissa on the earlier issues of the facing head type (as seen on the coins of lot 430 above), here the nymph seems to be much friendlier and more human. In addition, almost all of the heads seem to have been taken from a single model, except, perhaps, 432.11), which implies that the mint officials were exercising strict control over their engravers. This is in stark contrast to the heads on the early and middle period drachms, which were designed by their engravers with far more artistic freedom.