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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000058

Atrax. Lot of 15 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 58. Estimate $400.
Sold for $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lot of 15 coins.

(58.1) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17mm, 4.23 g, 1h). Horseman, bare headed, on horse prancing to r., border of dots / ΑΤΡΑ-ΓΙΟΝ, bull jumping r., his forelegs off the ground. Rogers 166, fig. 68. See also Nomos 4, 1025, hammer CHF 700. VF, dark green patina with touches of dark red, minor roughness.


(58.2) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (16mm, 3.47 g, 6h). Bearded head of Atrax r., border of dots / ΑΤΡΑ-ΓΙΩΝ, bull butting r. on exergue line. Rogers 160. Near VF, dark green patina, obv. off centre.


(58.3) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Chalkous (10.5mm, 2.16 g, 6h). Head of bearded Atrax l. / ΑΤΡΑ-ΓΙΩΝ, both parts of the legend retrograde, bull butting l. on exergual line. Not in Rogers, apparently unpublished with types to l. Near VF, dark green patina, slightly rough surfaces.


(58.4) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Chalkous (11mm, 1.37 g, 6h). Head of bearded Atrax l. / ΑΤΡΑ-ΓΙΩΝ, both parts of the legend retrograde, the Ρ and the Ν upside down, bull butting r. on exergual line. Not in Rogers, apparently unpublished with obverse type to l. Fine, dark green patina.


(58.5) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17.5mm, 3.67 g, 6h). Head of bearded Atrax l. / ΑΤΡΑΓ-ΙΩИ from top l. circular, bull butting r., his head facing, no exergual line. Rogers 162, fig. 66 var. [supposedly different letter arrangement on the rev. although the dies seem to be very similar]. See CNG 81 (20 May 2009) 381 for a die duplicate to this coin. VF, smooth dark green patina.


(58.6) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17.5mm, 3.16 g, 6h). Ν-Ι in field l. up, head of bearded Atrax l., border of dots / ΑΤΡΑ-ΓΙΩΝ, bull butting r. on exergual line, his head facing. McClean 4558, pl. 171, 15 (same dies). VF, minor recutting on the beard and a linear die flaw above the bull, otherwise smooth green patina.

The letters in front of the portrait of Atrax on this die are not mentioned in Grose’s text of the McClean publication but show clearly on the plate photograph of the coin. The usual practice - in Thessaly and elsewhere - of discreetly placing one or two smaller letters under the neckline or behind the head to indicate the artist, is not followed here. An alternative that comes to mind is that this issue, struck from dies of high artistic quality, was subsidized by a wealthy citizen and as a result the two first letters of the sponsor’s name were engraved in a more prominent manner. In this way the issue would be distinguished from others that were thought to be of inferior quality, such as lot 58.5 above. And yet, this is not the case. Lot 79 below has the same two, equally prominent, letters on its obverse. This can only mean that, apart from the two issues being contemporary or near contemporary, the same artist cut and signed these two obverse dies for the mints of Atrax and Gyrton.

(58.7) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17mm, 3.48 g, 1h). ΕΥΒΑΤΑ, youthful bare male head r., border of dots / ΑΤΡΑ-ΓΙ-ΝΩ, horse walking r. on exergual line. Rogers 165 corr. [there is no final Σ, at least on this obv. die]. See also Nomos 4 1030, hammer CHF 300. VF, green patina with small areas of red, minor cleaning marks.

Acquired from Dr. Michael Brandt, January 1991, DM 30.

This is one of the few cases where the sponsor’s (or magistrate’s according to ASW - see the above Nomos 4, reference) name is written almost in full. The mint at Atrax must have flourished, together with the polis, around the middle of the 4th century. We probably owe this proliferation of unusual silver and bronze coin ideas to some imaginative mint-master or a progressive city council, or both.

(58.8) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17mm, 3,72 g, 7h). Youthful bare male head r., linear border / ΑΤΡΑ-ΓΙ-ΩΝ circular from top l., horse walking r. on exergual line. Traité IV, 738 and pl. CCC, 7. Rogers 164, fig. 67. VF, smooth dark green patina, a few cleaning marks.

An obverse die with no letters but not appreciably different or of inferior quality to that of the previous lot. The identity of the portrait is a bit of a mystery as it cannot be either the nymph Bura (no earring or necklace) or Apollo (no wreath). It probably is the same individual (local hero?) as the one portrayed on the obverse of the unique obol (lot 54 above).

(58.9) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC or later. Æ Chalkous (15mm, 2.01 g, 9h). Wreathed head of nymph Bura r. in a linear circle / ΑΤΡΑ above, the Ρ reversed, feeding horse r. Rogers 167, fig. 69. VF, nice olive green patina. From the collection of Professor Peter R. Franke.

Acquired from Professor Franke in May 1978 for DM 45.


(58.10) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC or later. Æ Chalkous (15mm, 2.47 g, 9h). Wreathed head of nymph Bura r. in a linear circle / ΑΤΡΑ above, the Ρ reversed, ΓΙΩ[Ν] below the exergue line, feeding horse r. Rogers 167, fig. 69 var. [different letter arrangement]. VF, dark green patina with touches of red.


(58.11) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC or later. Æ Chalkous (15.5mm, 2.39 g, 6h). Wreathed head of nymph Bura r., horse’s hoof behind, border of dots / ΑΤΡΑ above, ΓΙΩ[Ν] retrograde below the exergue line, feeding horse r. See Gorny & Mosch 196 (7 March 2011) 1446 (same dies); see also CNG e-sale 229 (10 March 2010) 84 and Lanz 112 (25 November 2002) 178. VF, dark green patina with a few small patches of dark red.

Out of the above three companies that catalogued similar coins, all showing the horse’s hoof on the obverse quite clearly, only the Lanz cataloguer noticed it and listed it as Rinderhuf (cattle hoof).

(58.12) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC or later. Æ Chalkous (15mm, 2.51 g, 12h). Wreathed head of nymph Bura r., horse’s hoof behind, border of dots / [Α]ΤΡΑ above, ΓΙΩИ retrograde below the exergue line, feeding horse r. (but here it looks more like a long-legged cow). See Lanz 112 (25 November 2002) 178 (same dies). Good Fine, green patina, partly flat struck.


(58.13) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC or later. Æ Chalkous (14mm, 3.06 g, 1h). Nymph’s head r., of poor style / ΑΤΡ above, feeding horse r., crudely depicted. Fine, brown patina, off centre.

Unfortunately both obverse and reverse of this crudely engraved coin are off centre. Nevertheless it has been included here as the only example of poor workmanship on Atrax coins known to this writer. Most likely it is an attempt to imitate the fine style issues such as lots 58.7 and 58.8 by a later and/or incompetent unofficial or clandestine workshop.

(58.14) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (18mm, 4.69 g, 10h). ΓΥ, head of nymph Bura r., hair rolled up at the back and wearing pendant earring, border of dots / ΑΤΡΑ below, ΓΙΩΝ above, lion standing r. on exergual line. Unpublished and missing from all major references. VF, green patina with some red areas, slight striking flatness on high points.

Apparently the third known. For the other two specimens that have appeared see CNG MBS 85 (15 September 2010) 315, hammer $ 1200 and Nomos 4, 1031, hammer CHF 850. The obverse reading of ΓΥ is preferred to ΕΥ (see above, Nomos 4, lot 1031).

(58.15) THESSALY, Atrax. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon or Dichalkon (19mm, 4.79 g, 11h). Horseman walking r. / bull butting l. in wreath of oak (?) leaves. Fair, rough dark green patina.

Attribution uncertain but type and provenance indicate Atrax as the most likely candidate. See Rogers 428 and Nomos 4, 1230 for comparative size, correctly dated by ASW to “later 4th century BC”.