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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000077

Gyrton

Triton XV, Lot: 77. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $11000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Gyrton (IACP 397)

Located on the Peneios River, Gyrton's foundation was connected to the family of Phlegyas (whether his brother, Gyrton, or his daughter, Gyrtone). Phlegyas was the son of the god Ares, a king of the Lapiths (a mythical Thessalian tribe who lived in the region), and the father of Ixion (consigned to Tartaros, where he is bound to a fiery wheel) and Koronis (the mother of the god Asklepios). According to Greek mythology, it was at the wedding of Gyrton's king, Pirithöos, and Hippodamia, that a famously infamous fight broke out between the Lapiths and Centaurs (the Centauromachy). Gyrton is mentioned by Homer (Il. 2, 738), and Apollonios of Rhodes calls it ἀφνειήν, or "rich" (Argon. 1.57). Gyrton sent troops to assist Athens at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War (Thuc. 2.22), and the town frequently appears in later sources (Polyb. 18.5; Mela 2.3; Plin. 4.9.16), although by then, it had diminished in size and importance.

The coinage of Gyrton, primarily struck around the middle of the 4th century BC, is the city's most extensive relic. A small amount of silver coinage is known, but the city’s bronze coinage is most abundant, with some of it being struck as late as the early 3rd century BC.

THESSALY, Gyrton. Circa 340s-330s BC. AR Hemidrachm (16mm, 3.08 g, 12h). Head of nymph Gyrtone facing, turned slightly to the l., her hair bound with a ribbon; border of dots / ΓΥΡ below the exergue line, [Τ]ΩΝΙΩΝ above, horse r., preparing to roll. Traité IV, 741, pl. CCC, 10 var. [rev. type here is to r.]. See also Nomos 4, 1050 and J. Hirsch XIII (15 May 1905) Rhousopoulos 1272, both with the same obverse die but with reverse type to l. EF, small scratch on the reverse, has been cleaned and now beginning to tone, very rare.

Ex Giessener Münzhandlung 44 (3 April 1989) 257, hammer DM 19000.

The few very rare facing nymph hemidrachms and the unique signed profile male head hemidrachm (see Nomos 4, 1048) are the only known silver coins of Gyrton whose bronze coin production was quite plentiful and varied. The city authorities and the locals obviously used the silver of Larissa for their regular transactions and reserved the silver struck in the name of the Gyrtonians for special occasions. The writer owes the refined chronology of the Gyrton silver to Dr. F. Burrer who kindly made available his forthcoming study on the silver coins of this mint.