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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000131
Triton XV, Lot: 131. Estimate $750.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. 479/475 - circa 460 BC. AR Hemidrachm (12.5mm, 1.62 g, 7h). Head of Jason to r., wearing petasos, border of dots / ΛΑΡΙ below double exergue line, sandal of Jason l., above, double axe r., all in incuse square. Traité I, 1414, pl. XLIII, 5 (same style but different dies; weight however is 2.58 g). Good VF, lightly toned.

This coin is so much lighter than the average weight of the “sandal” triobols that one suspects a plated ancient forgery. However, there is no sign of a bronze core and no coloured leaching is evident at the spot that one would expect, the flan edge split at 7 o’clock on the obverse. Perhaps the mint approved and even encouraged the production of over-lightweight coins as long as they could pass for the denomination they were supposed to be. See SNG Fitzwilliam 2383 for another Jason lightweight (1.90 g) hemidrachm listed as a “diobol”. On the other hand, SNG Cop. 89 refers to the same type (Jameson 2032) with a weight of 3.23 g. This is exactly double the weight of our specimen and makes it difficult to accept such an excessive weight fluctuation amongst coins that are supposed to be the same denomination. Finally, see Kagan so-called, p. 80 for a very rational explanation of the lightweight phenomenon amongst the various types of the “sandal” coinage.