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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Larissa Kremaste

Triton XV, Lot: 399. Estimate $150.
Sold for $11000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Larissa Kremaste (IACP 437)

The Achaian city of Larissa Kremaste goes back to at least the 5th century BC. It is known to have suffered great damage in an earthquake in 426 BC. It had an important fortress in Hellenistic times and was under either Macedonian or Aitolian influence until taken by the Romans, but by then it was of little importance.

THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (20.5mm, 6.27 g, 9h). Bare head of Achilles to r., border of dots / ΛΑΡΙΣΑΙΩΝ from the bottom, towards the r., up and circular, Thetis, veiled, wearing long chiton and holding shield of Achilles with his monogram on it, seated l. on hippocamp; below, in front of her feet, dolphin l. Heyman, p. 116, 1; see also SNG München 91 (same dies); one more is at the ANS [1944.100.17230] (same dies). Fine, green patina with some areas of brown, fine cleaning marks; obv. softly struck, the reverse of exceptionally fine artwork and charming detail; one of three known (?) of these dies. Rogers’ reference to a coin such as this, published in the Numismatic Chronicle 1893, p. 25, is mistaken (and so is Heyman’s entry who copied Rogers); that coin is the small denomination, nymph / harpa in wreath. Both the Munich and the ANS coins are in a poor state and do not show the detail on the reverse; their obverses appear to be similarly weakly struck as this coin. Finally, the Athens coin illustrated by Rogers (fig. 155) is of the later type with the smaller head on the obverse and the partial ethnic on the reverse (as Nomos 4, 1175, and lot 400 in this catalogue).

The reverse die of this coin is surely a prototype, probably executed by a master die cutter especially commissioned for the inaugural coinage of the city. Because of its weakly struck obverse, ASW chose not to include this coin in Nomos 4, opting instead for the slightly later issue that is of clearly inferior artwork. This writer agrees with him concerning the dating of these early bronzes. The reverse die of this coin belongs to the fourth century, probably to the first half of it and certainly not to the time of Demetrios Poliorketes. The dies featured in Nomos 4, 1175 as well as lot 400 in this catalogue, come immediately after this issue and are still earlier than the 3rd century much commoner coins (see lots 403.1 to 403.5 below).