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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 57. Estimate $150.
Sold for $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Chalkous (12mm, 1.61 g, 4h). Bearded head of Atrax r. / ΑΤΡΑ, nude female dancer l., her hair done up in a turban. Unpublished, unknown and unique (?). Good VF, dark green patina with lighter brown highlights.

The astounding subject and especially the nudity and the headgear of the dancer on the reverse of this unique coin are a challenge to the imagination. There are very few sources before Alexander that report some kind of connection or relationship of the mainland Greeks with Africans or people from the Arabian peninsula. It is not impossible that the inspiration for engraving the reverse of this coin originated from the visit of a troupe of dancers or acrobats from these lands, performing in one of the many festivals that took place in Thessaly, the details of which are so little known to us.