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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 102. Estimate $300.
Sold for $1000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Kierion. Mid 3rd century BC. AR Drachm (19mm, 5.11 g, 12h). Laureate and bearded head of Zeus to r. / [ΚΙ]ΕΡΙΕΙ[ΩΝ] r. down, youthful Asklepios, naked to the waist, seated l. on rocks, holding long sceptre in his l. hand and resting his r. on his upraised r. knee; to l., tree entwined by a serpent. Unpublished, unknown and apparently unique. Near VF, lightly toned but surfaces very crystallized. The dies appear to be from the same hand that crafted the dies for the Nomos 4 didrachm (lot 1071).

Said to have been found on the site of ancient Kierion.

The importance of this coin lies in that we now have confirmation that Kierion issued drachms to match its rare didrachms about which there were doubts in the past that they were minted in Thessaly and not in Asia Minor. These issues, surely struck in very limited quantities, are analogous to the Philippopolis range of staters to obols (see Nomos 4, lots 1040 to 1042 and lot 69 above) but, judging from the style and fabric, should be dated almost a century later. Philippopolis was able to use the services of a master engraver, and a supremely gifted one at that whereas, one hundred years later, the mint-master and the city council of Kierion must have found out that the choices they had were very limited and certainly not up to the artistic standard of the mid 4th century BC. The superbly executed Kierion hemidrachm (see Nomos 4, 1067) was obviously struck several decades earlier and therefore the master engraver who created its dies was in all likelihood not available anymore to offer his services.