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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 300. Estimate $100.
Sold for $600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Larissa. Mid 4th century BC. AR Obol (10.5mm, 0.69 g, 6h). Head of the nymph Larissa three-quarter facing l., wearing a pendant earring, a plain necklace and with an ampyx in her hair; border of dots / ΛΑΡΙΣ above, ΑΙΩΝ below, horse with straight legs, grazing r. See for the obverse style Lorber, Early, 78.1(a); see also CNG 61 (25 September 2002) 563 and lots 289 to 291 above. Near VF, nicely toned but nearly all the horse’s head off flan.

Acquired from the CNG “Coin Shop”, 28 August 2002, for $295.

It is difficult to be categorical about this but the difference in style between this coin and the normal Larissa obols (see lots 328, 342, and 343, below) is such that this writer prefers to place it in a category of its own. The right place for it would be at the very beginning of the facing head obol production, at a point somewhere between the end of the early facing head drachms and the beginning of the late group. The question remains though: why is the obverse so close stylistically to a particular early facing head type when the reverse has the full legend of the ethnic with a straight legged horse? Perhaps the transitional group we call middle facing heads may be the most suitable place for it after all.