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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Herakleia Trachinia. Lot of 2 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 87. Estimate $200.
Sold for $400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Herakleia Trachinia (IACP 430)

Herakleia was in Malis and was founded by the Spartans in 426 BC to replace the more ancient city of Trachis, which was the site of the gruesome death of Herakles at the unwitting hands of his third wife, Deianeira, and recounted in the Trachiniai of Sophokles (Pausanias claimed her tomb was still visible), and to guard the great pass of Thermopylai. For most of the city’s 5th and 4th century history there was a great deal of internal and external strife, especially due to the city’s alliance with Sparta. There are few ancient remains of interest; Justinian refortified the acropolis. The coinage dates to circa 370-340 BC.

Lot of 2 coins.

(87.1) THESSALY, Herakleia Trachinia. Circa 370s - 350s BC. AR Obol (10mm, 0.71 g, 12h). Head of lion l. with mouth open and protruding tongue; below, E (hardly visible) / ΗΡΑ above, club to left, below two ivy leaves with entwined stems. BMC p. 21, 2, pl. III, 8; see also Nomos 4, 1062. VF, lightly toned, surface a little rough in places, rare.

(87.2) THESSALY, Herakleia Trachinia. Circa 370s - 350s BC. AR Obol (11mm, 0.80 g, 11h). Head of lion l., below, spearhead l. / ΗΡΑ, the Ρ reversed, bow with string upwards, superimposed on quiver lying on its side; above, serpent l. Dewing 1380 (same dies). VF, granular surfaces, toned, a very rare variety.

What is described as a serpent on the reverse of this coin is thought by other scholars who described similar coins to be “straps of the harness” (Babelon) or simply “belt” (SNG Munich). The writer, at least for this specimen, prefers the opinion of Mr. Leonard Forrer who saw a coiled serpent (see Weber 2813).