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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 146. Estimate $200.
Sold for $1000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Late second quarter of the 5th century BC. AR Obol (12mm, 1.21 g, 10h). Head and neck of bull l., the head turned to face the viewer, above, dolphin r., all in a dotted circle / ΛΑ r. up, head and neck of bridled horse r., all in incuse square. Liampi, Corpus, p. 104, 16 (V8-R10), pl. 4, 31; see also Nomos 4, 1106 (same dies); CNG e-sale 240 (8 September 2010) 137 (same obv. die). Good VF, lightly toned, well struck (both sides not perfectly centred) and attractive.

This writer is not quite sure how to view the reverses of these taurokathapsia obols and hemiobols. The letters on this particular coin, for example, could be read better if the head and neck of the horse was taken as a part of the animal in the way the animal stands and walks in real life and not as a “statue image” of a horse’s head and neck, depicted upright because it presents a more elegant and pleasing to our eyes horse portrait. However, the corpus and almost all other photographs of these coin types present the image upright so one has to conform with the majority, also to avoid die position confusion and misunderstandings.