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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Gomphi - Philippopolis

Triton XV, Lot: 69. Estimate $200.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Gomphoi (IACP 396)

Situated in Hestiaiotis close to the border with Epeiros, Gomphoi was renamed Philippopolis by Philip II. Philip V possessed the city from 191-185 BC (Cf. Hellenistic Sites, p. 117, note 2). It served as a base for the Romans in the war against Perseus. Caesar plundered the city in 48 BC (B Civ. 3.80.6).

Around 350 BC, the city struck silver and bronze coins. Early in the 3rd century BC, it also struck a series of bronze coins.

THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Circa 350 BC. AR Trihemiobol (13mm, 1.18 g, 10h). Head of Hera facing, wearing stephane and pendant earrings, a torque just visible on the l. side of her neck / ΦΙΛΙΠΠ[Ο] l. up, Π[ΟΛΙΤΩΝ] r. down, Zeus Palamnaios draped to the waist and with his torso bare, seated l. on rocks, holding long sceptre in his r. hand and resting his l. on a rock behind him; in field l., vertical thunderbolt. Unpublished and unknown, for the hemidrachm see Nomos 4, 1041. VF, rough surfaces, minor spot of crystalization at 9 o’clock, but a unique coin of superb artistry.

This trihemiobol completes the range of the rare and artistically stunning silver coins of this mint, undoubtedly struck in limited quantities for special recipients and/or purposes. Up to quite recently only the unique stater (BM) and a few drachms (see Nomos 4, 1040) were known. The hemidrachm (Nomos 4, 1041) turned out to be the second known; apparently there is one of the same dies in the Athens Cabinet (Empedocles collection) awaiting publication. The obol (Nomos 4, 1042) is also the second known (see notes in the Nomos catalogue) and now this unique trihemiobol has appeared to complete the series. One wonders if there was a... hemiobol. The very talented artist who cut the dies for all these denominations (except perhaps the stater that seems to be from a different hand) also engraved dies for the Gomphi bronzes (see below lots 71.2 to 71.4).