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Research Coins: Feature Auction



Triton XV, Lot: 109. Estimate $600.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Krannon (IACP 400)

Ancient Krannon, which bordered the territories of Larissa, Atrax, and Skotoussa, was once one of the richer cities of Thessaly. Important prehistoric sites lie nearby, as well as a spring (Aiolickranna [κράννα]), after which the city was named. According to Strabo (7. fr. 15; 8.3.5), Krannon's inhabitants referred to themselves as Ephyroi, suggesting that these people were part of the Thesprotoi who migrated from Ephyra in southern Epeiros. Very few ancient remains of the city are preserved, except for a considerable number of grave mounds. Virtually nothing remains of the temples to Athena Polias and Asklepios, known to have existed there. Controlled by the Skopidai, the city experienced political turmoil between the citizens and its rulers in the 4th century BC, and again in the early 2nd century BC. By then, however, Krannon was no longer the regional power it once was. It fell into decline and disappeared after the early Roman period.

Coinage began with 5th century BC silver issues of the Taurokathapsia type. These were followed in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, by what appears to have been very large issue of bronze coinage. One of the reverse types of this coinage is particularly noteworthy. It shows a wheeled car bearing a hydria (ὕδρια), a water jar, and is often accompanied by one or two crows. According to the 3rd century BC author Antigonos Karystios, author of the Ἱστοριῶν παραδόξων συναγωγή, or Collection of historical marvels, this object (including the crows) served as the emblem of the city and at times of drought was driven around to make a thunder-like noise and, by sympathetic magic, induce rain to fall.

THESSALY, Krannon. Mid 5th century BC. AR Drachm (20mm, 5.90 g, 9h). X-A-N from bottom r., up l. circular clockwise, youthful hero (Thessalos) naked but for cloak and petasos tied over his shoulders, holding with both hands a band around the forehead of a bull rushing to r., border of dots / Κ-ΡΑ-ΝΟ circular from l., anticlockwise, bridled horse trotting to l., reins trailing on ground; behind, trident upwards and diagonally to r., all in an incuse square. Weber 2800; see also Nomos 4, 1079 (same dies). VF, lightly toned, striking slippage on obverse at 3 to 4 o’clock; die flaw on rev. at 9 o’clock and edge striking split at 11 o’clock. Good metal and attractive, especially the reverse; rare.

Krannon drachms are much rarer than the similarly designed Larissa archaic drachms (see lots 152 and 355.2 below). The Weber specimen had an ugly hole through it whereas the BMC and SNG Cop. are missing this denomination for Krannon.