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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000352

Larissa. Lot of 8 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 352. Estimate $400.
Sold for $1200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

This lot contains a group of ancient Larissa forgeries; unlike the other lots of fourrées below (lots 381 and 386) these are more varied, and all coins have hardly any loss of their silver coatings. Such uncut and practically fully plated coins are few and far between and the ones with their silver coatings completely intact will often be offered by dealers as genuine examples of pure silver. This writer, more often than not, had a hard time persuading the sellers that their coin was a fourrée and on many occasions had to pay the full market price in order to acquire it.

Lot of 8 coins.

(352.1) THESSALY, Larissa. Second quarter of the 5th century BC. AR fourrée Hemidrachm (12mm, 2.18 g, 9h). Head of Jason, wearing petasos, to r. / ΛΑRΙ, Jason’s sandal l., above, double axe r., all in shallow incuse square. Traité I, 1414, pl. XLIII, 5. Good VF, lightly toned; striking edge cracks and a diagonal (testing?) scratch on the reverse.

A very convincing copy that, if weighing scales are not available, can only be spotted by carefully examining the edge cracks under magnification. The rev. scratch is interesting; it looks more like a very shallow chop mark than a scratch. Perhaps the owner, in order to make the coin more credible, made this very shallow cut so that the recipient would think that the coin had already been tested.

(352.2) THESSALY, Larissa. First quarter of the 4th century BC. AR fourrée Trihemiobol (12mm, 0.83 g, 9h). Small, round shield, with dotted border, having as a device a bull’s hoof to r., all within a circle of dots / ΛΑΡ l. up, laureate bust of Asklepios to r., snake rising to r. in front of him. See Nomos 4, 1120; see also CNG 87 (18 May 2011) 410. VF, lightly toned with a reasonably convincing portrait of Asklepios on the rev. and the die break on the obverse of the genuine coins reproduced here to make the imitation more convincing.


(352.3) THESSALY, Larissa. First quarter of the 4th century BC. AR fourrée Drachm (17.5mm, 5.78 g, 6h). Thessalos to r., naked but for chlamys over his shoulders and petasos hanging from a cord around his neck, holding a band with both hands around the forehead of a bull rushing r., all within a dotted circle / ΛΑΡ above, ΙΣΑΙ below, bridled horse galloping r., all in an incuse square. Weber 2835 (same dies). Near VF, the obverse lightly toned, the reverse bright; silver has peeled off near the dotter circle at 12 o’clock on the obverse and from an area under the horse on the reverse.

This coin was struck from official dies and is a die duplicate of lot 171 above. The powdery light olive green look of the core is not the typical corroded but hard dark brown material that we encounter on the majority of fourrées. Could it be that the forgers were experimenting with a new type of alloy for the core of their forgeries?

(352.4) THESSALY, Larissa. First quarter of the 4th century BC. AR fourrée Drachm (18.5mm, 5.32 g, 6h). Thessalos to r., naked but for chlamys over his shoulders, his petasos flying in the air behind him, holding a band with both hands around the forehead of a bull leaping r., all within a dotted circle / ΛΑΡ above, [Ι]ΣΑ below, upside down and retrograde, bridled horse prancing r., the field is flat, without concavity or an indication of an incuse square or circle. Traité IV, 662, pl. CCXCVI, 19. Near VF, toned and softly struck on both sides which in itself would be a cause for suspicion. This coin though was never “tested” (cut) and the bronze core now shows on the edges.

Ex Superior 12 December 1987, lot 354 (part).

The obverse is a poor copy of the obverse of lot 172 above and the reverse imitates the reverse of lot 372.4 below.

(352.5) THESSALY, Larissa. First quarter of the 4th century BC. AR fourrée Drachm (18mm, 4.56 g, 10h). Thessalos to l., naked but for chlamys flying in the air over his shoulders, his petasos hardly visible behind his head, holding a band with both hands around the forehead of a bull leaping l. / ΛΑΡΙ above, ΣΑΙΑ below, bridled horse galloping r., its rein trailing below; all in an incuse square. The obv. is imitating a die similar to the obv. of 203.5 above; the rev. is very similar to the rev. of lot 196 above. VF, toned; some scratches (attempted graffiti?) on the obverse; the rev. struck on a tight flan with part of the horse’s head off flan; the bronze core showing on two small spots on the obverse.

It would not be surprising if the dies from which this coin was struck were official dies of the Larissa mint; the artwork seems good enough to have convinced the potential recipients.

(352.6) THESSALY, Larissa. First quarter of the 4th century BC. AR fourrée Drachm (18.5mm, 4.93 g, 8h). Thessalos to l., naked but for chlamys and petasos flying in the air behind him, holding a band with both hands around the forehead of a bull leaping l., all within a dotted circle / ΛΑΡΙ above, Σ to r., ΙΑ below, bridled horse with trailing rein r., no ground line, all in a shallow circular field. See SNG München 45 and SNG Cop. 112 for the obverse. See also CNG e-sale 250 (23 February 2011) 44 as well as lot 201.3 above for coins with both obv. and rev. similar to this coin; the reverse here on a smaller scale altogether. Near VF, toned and with die breaks on the obverse that do not exist on the obv. die of the genuine coins; a tiny dig below the chlamys on the obverse and an edge crack are the only spots that reveal the bronze core.

Given the advanced die flaws on the obverse it may be that, after that die was officially decommissioned, the forger somehow got hold of it and, using a new reverse that was a good copy of one of the reverses that served with this die, struck his forgeries until the obverse die broke up completely and could not be used any more. The reasoning behind this makes sense because a well known die - quite a number of coins from it have come down to us - in a deteriorating condition would not be likely to raise any suspicions.

(352.7) THESSALY, Larissa. First quarter of the 4th century BC. AR fourrée Drachm (18.5mm, 5.85 g, 12h). ΛΑΡΙΣΑΙΩΝ above, hardly visible, bull leaping to r., border of dots / Thessalian horseman, wearing tunic, chlamys and petasos, galloping r., concave field. See Herrmann pl. IV, 17 for the type. Near VF, lightly toned, the obverse with porous surfaces and the usual soft strike; a die break to the r. of the reverse, on the left foreleg of the horse; a few digs on both obv. and rev. reveal the bronze core underneath the silver coating. A coin worth researching further as the style of both obverse and reverse is quite credible and it may be that official dies were used for its striking.

Here the forger cleverly imitated the soft strike on the obverse; a well known and frequently occurring characteristic of these coins; the difference between the obverse and reverse surfaces, occasionally observed on genuine coins as well, must be due to the exposure of the obverse of this coin to the elements for a considerable period of time before it was found by its modern times owner.

(352.8) THESSALY, Larissa. Second half of the 4th century BC. AR fourrée Hemidrachm (14mm, 2.21 g, 1h). Head of the nymph Larissa three-quarter facing l., wearing a small drop earring, her hair held by an ampyx; border of dots / ΛΑΡΙΣ above, [A]ΙΩΝ below, horse crouching r., preparing to roll. See Herrmann pl. V, 18 for type. Good Fine, lightly toned and with some scratches on the reverse; a square test punch on the obverse and some silver coating peeling off the edge at 8 and 11 o’clock on the obverse are practically the only areas where the bronze core is visible.