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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000353

Larissa. Lot of 4 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 353. Estimate $500.
Sold for $750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lot of 4 coins.

(353.1) THESSALY, Larissa. Late second quarter of the 5th century BC. AR Obol (10mm, 0.80 g, 6h). Head and neck of bull r., the head turned to face the viewer, dotted circle hardly showing / ΛΑ l. downwards, head and neck of bridled horse l., all in incuse square. Liampi, Corpus, p. 105, 20 (V12-R12), pl. 4, 40-41. VF, toned, obverse slightly off centre and with the grenetis “filled-in” on most of the die, die flaw on reverse below horse’s neck.

Ex G. Henzen FPL 197, February 2009, € 600.


(353.2) THESSALY, Larissa. Late second quarter of the 5th century BC. AR Obol (10.5mm, 1.01 g, 12h). Bull’s head facing, to r. and behind, half figure of hero to l., his r. arm over the bull’s neck and his l. hand below the bull’s muzzle; all in dotted circle / ΑΛ to r. upwards, bridled horse’s head and neck r. in incuse square. Liampi, Corpus, p. 102, 4e (this coin) (V3-R3), pl. 4, 8. VF, nicely toned, the obverse sharper and more clear than usual; a few light scratches on the reverse; die flaw below bull’s muzzle on the obverse and below horse’s neck on the reverse.

On these taurokathapsia series one would expect the hero to either hold a band around the forehead of the bull or to get ready to jump on its back. On this die it seems as if he is in friendly terms with the animal and is offering him a tasty morsel (in the case of a bull it would probably be just a tuft of grass). Unfortunately there is a die flaw exactly where the grass would be, so we cannot be absolutely sure...

(353.3) THESSALY, Larissa. Late second quarter of the 5th century BC. AR Obol (10mm, 0.78 g, 11h). Bull’s head facing, to l. and behind, half figure of hero to r., his l. arm over the bull’s neck and his r. hand below the bull’s muzzle; all in dotted circle / ΛΑ to r. upwards, bridled horse’s head and neck r. in incuse square. Liampi, Corpus, p. 102, 6 (V4-R5), pl. 4, 13-14. Good VF, toned, surfaces slightly pitted in parts.

Although here we have the work of another die-cutter and the obverse scene is viewed from the opposite side, the attitude of the hero towards the bull remains friendly. Perhaps, after the contests were over, the bull riders would reward their bulls with a little something, the same way today riders give a small treat to their horses after they have performed well in a competition.

(353.4) THESSALY, Larissa. Late second quarter of the 5th century BC. AR Obol (11mm, 0.90 g, 3h). Forepart of bull l., head and neck turned back, border of dots / ΛΑ to r. upwards, bridled horse’s head and neck r. in incuse square. Liampi, Corpus, p. 103, 8a (this coin, illustrated) (V5-R6), pl. 4, 16; see also Nomos 4, 1104 (same dies). Good VF, nicely toned, surfaces a little rough but an attractive specimen.

Although ASW in the Nomos 4, description of an identical coin sees the bull grazing, this writer has not seen any grass on a ground line on any dies of this type of obverse. Anyway (ASW would ask here) what else could the bull be doing? This writer would then venture to say that the bull is trying to get rid of the stinging flies that annoy all animals with very short hair on their bodies.