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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000071

Gomphi - Philippopolis. Lot of 12 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 71. Estimate $300.
Sold for $1800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lot of 12 coins.

(71.1) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Early to mid 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (20.5mm, 8.21 g, 11h). Head of Hera facing 3/4 r. wearing stephanos and pendant earrings / [Γ]ΟΜΦ l. up, ΕΩΝ r. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on rocks, holding long sceptre in his r. hand and leaning on a rock with his l., in field l. vertical thunderbolt. BMC p. 19, 2, pl. III, 3; Traité IV, 553, pl. CCXCI, 4; Rogers 214, fig. 92. VF, shiny, almost black patina but the obverse mis-struck (as quite often happens with this issue).

A very powerful but crude depiction of Zeus, surely dating before the artistic silver.

(71.2) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (18mm, 5.43 g, 3h). Circa 350 - 336 BC. Head of Hera 3/4 r., of fine style / ΓΟΜΦ l. up, ΕΩΝ r. down, youthful Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on rocks, holding long sceptre in his r. hand and leaning on a rock with his l. Traité IV, 534, pl. CCXCI, 5 var. [Zeus seated on chair]. Rogers 214, fig. 92 var. [obv. with stephanos and not resembling the silver]. VF, green patina with brownish touches and a few minor cleaning marks.

One could call this coin the “missing link” between the earliest and the later AE issues. The obverse belongs to the fine style issues without stephanos whereas on the reverse, Zeus Palamnaios is seated on rocks. It should be noted here that when Zeus is seated on rocks, he holds with his r. hand a sceptre and the thunderbolt appears in the field as a symbol. When he sits on a stool, chair or throne he always holds the thunderbolt with his r. hand. This rule also applies to the silver, where Zeus always holds a sceptre and the thunderbolt is shown as a symbol in the field.

(71.3) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17.5mm, 3.97 g, 7h). Head of Hera facing 3/4 r., wearing stephane and torque-like necklace / ΓΟΜΦ l. up, [Ι]ΤΟΥ[Ν] r. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on throne, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. See J. Hirsch XXVI (23 May 1910) 485 (same dies). VF, dark brown patina, rough in spots, fine style obverse.

The obverse die surely from the same hand that engraved the dies for the elegant smaller silver denominations.

(71.4) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Mid 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (21mm, 5.76 g, 11h). Head of Hera facing 3/4 r., wearing pendant earrings, stephane and torque-like necklace / ΓΟΜΦ l. up, ΙΤΟΥΝ r. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on backless throne, holds thunderbolt in r. (?) and long sceptre with l. Pozzi (Boutin) 2732 (same dies). VF, green patina with some flaws, mostly on reverse; fine style head on obverse.

The obverse die also from the same hand that engraved the smaller silver denominations.

(71.5) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Late 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (17mm, 4.73 g, 3h). Head of Hera facing 3/4 r. / ΓΟΜ l. up, Φ above l., Ε above r., ΩΝ r. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on rock, holds sceptre in r. and leans on rock with l., in field l., between legend and sceptre, upright thunderbolt. This stylistic variety not found in references consulted. Near VF, dark purplish grey patina, slightly rough in a few areas.


(71.6) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Late 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (22mm, 7.92 g, 1h). Head of Hera facing 3/4 r., wearing pendant earrings; stephane and torque-like necklace not readily visible / ΓΟΜΦΕ r. down, ΩΝ l. up, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on backless throne, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. Not in Rogers; this style obverse not found in consulted references. Near VF, dark greenish brown patina with areas of dark red and some obverse pits.


(71.7) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Late 4th to early 3rd century BC. Æ Trichalkon (21mm, 8.02 g, 6h). Head of nymph or maenad facing 3/4 r. / ΓΟΜΦΕΩΝ r. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on backless throne, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. Rogers 221; SNG Cop. 51; see also G. Hirsch 258 (25 September 2008) 2146. Good VF, attractive light green patina with some red on the obverse; rev. off centre.


(71.8) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. Early 3rd century BC. Æ Chalkous (15mm, 3.82 g, 10h). Head of nymph or maenad facing 3/4 l. / [Γ]ΟΜΦΕΩ r. down, Ν l. up, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on backless throne, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. Not in Rogers and not found in consulted references. VF, dark green patina with pale reddish brown hues in the high relief areas; very rare.

Obviously the smaller denomination of Rogers 220 to 222.

(71.9) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. 3rd century BC. Æ Trichalkon (20.5mm, 6.82 g, 12h). Head of nymph or maenad facing 3/4 r. / [Γ]ΟΜΦΙ r. down, ΤΟΥΝ l. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on backless throne, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. Rogers 216, fig. 94; SNG Cop. 52; see also CNG 61 (25 September 2002) 212. VF, dark olive green patina with some touches of red, reverse a little flat struck.


(71.10) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. 3rd century BC. Æ Trichalkon (21mm, 6.04 g, 4h). Head of nymph or maenad facing 3/4 l. / ΓΟΜΦΕ r. down, ΩΝ l. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on backless throne, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. Rogers 220, fig. 98. VF, dark brown patina that has rubbed off on high points revealing a more porous green surface.

Ex Rauch 76 (17 October 2005) D313, hammer € 420.

Same obverse die as lot 396.7 below (Larissa). Comparing the artwork on the reverses of these two coins that share the same obverse die is quite instructive. The Gomphi reverse is very neatly executed and could be an older die that was saved and now re-used. The Larissa reverse is almost “Celtic” in appearance and goes well with the wild looking obverse. One cannot help thinking that these amazing dies were cut with a particular purpose in mind, by an artist who was well aware of how “different” his work was from the mainstream iconography. See the commentary after lot 118.11 in BCD Lokris - Phokis (NAC 55, 10 October 2010). If this scenario of Celtic art is adopted we could date these coins after about 270 BC which is still early compared to what this writer has in mind.

(71.11) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. 3rd-2nd century BC. Æ Trichalkon (20mm, 5.17 g, 12h). Head of Apollo r., his hair long and retained by a band in the form of a wreath / ΓΟΜΦΙ r. down, ΤΟΥΝ l. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on backless throne, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. Rogers 218, fig. 96 (same obv. die). Good VF, medium olive green patina with some flaking on the obverse, rare type.


(71.12) THESSALY, Gomphi - Philippopolis. 2nd-1st century BC. Æ Trichalkon (23mm, 7.01 g, 6h). Head of nymph or maenad facing 3/4 l. / ΓΟΜΦΕ r. down, ΩΝ l. down, Zeus Palamnaios seated l. on throne with low back, holds thunderbolt in r. and long sceptre with l. This style not in Rogers or any major references. VF, green patina with a few blemishes.

This must be a very late issue. The obverse die is the same as that of lot 396.6 below and this suggests a time when the economy in Thessaly was in steep decline. The area must have been depleted of all its resources and the city officials must have been really short of funds to have to use an obverse die from another city. There are, of course, other explanations for this phenomenon that is encountered more than once with these late Thessalian city issues: the shortage of official money and the appearance of unauthorized workshops that were tolerated because they filled a need and also because the power and influence of the city authorities were weakening.