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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000405

Larissa Kremaste. Lot of 6 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 405. Estimate $200.
Sold for $1000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lot of 6 coins.

(405.1) THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 3rd century BC. Æ Chalkous (13.5mm, 1.79 g, 12h). Nymph’s wreathed head l., hair rolled up around her head and wearing round pendant earring; to l. and r. of her neck, [I] and Π / ΛΑΡI r. up, harpa with hook turned to l., in wreath tying below. Rogers 319, fig. 160 (same dies); see also Nomos 4, 1176 (different dies). VF, pleasing dark green patina, a rare type.

It is rather unusual to see a nymph with a wreath in her hair but perhaps this one is rather special to the city. Her name starts with ΙΠ, and Hippodameia would be one of the several possible names that would fit the bill. Die cutters signing Thessalian coin dies use as a rule minuscule and very lightly engraved letters whereas these letters are relatively prominent. Furthermore, the obverse die of the coin in Nomos 4, being from a different hand but still with the same two letters on either side of the portrait, confirms that these letters are not an artist’s signature.

(405.2) THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 3rd century BC. Æ Chalkous (13.5mm, 1.71 g, 2h). Nymph’s wreathed head l., hair rolled up around her head and gathered at the back; to l. and r. of her neck, I and Π / ΛΑΡ r. up, harpa with hook turned to l., in wreath tying below; to left, symbol ram’s head downwards. Not found in references consulted. Good Fine, green patina, the obv. softly struck.

The symbol to the left of the harpa was initially thought to be a bunch of grapes but as it is not quite symmetrical and there is no indication of a branch attached to it, a ram’s head seemed more likely after all.

(405.3) THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 3rd century BC. Æ Chalkous (13.5mm, 1.49 g, 12h). Nymph’s head l., hair rolled up and gathered at the back / ΛΑΡ r. up, harpa with hook turned to l., symbol in l. field, Boiotian helmet sideways; all in wreath tying below. Not found in references consulted. Fine, dark green patina; obv. partly softly struck; the wreath on the rev. flat struck around 12 o’clock.


(405.4) THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 3rd century BC. Æ Dichalkon (18mm, 4.23 g, 3h). Nymph’s head r., her hair rolled around her head and hanging loose behind, wearing pendant earring and plain necklace / ΛΑΡI l. down, Perseus, naked but for chlamys over his shoulders, standing facing, holding in r. harpa upwards, in l. the head of Medusa. Rogers 321, fig. 161 (same dies); see also Nomos 4, 1177 (same dies). Fine, green patina with some surface flaws; the obv. off centre, rev. die break on the last letter of the ethnic; a very rare coin.

Acquired in London, December 1989, for £ 100.

This and the next coin (lot 405.5) share an obverse die but their reverse dies are not only different but also differ appreciably in size. Could it be that at some point in time, during the striking of the smaller coins, it was decided to increase their value? The obverse die was retained but the new reverse was engraved much larger; the coins of the new value were then struck with more than twice the weight of the old small ones.

The mythological scene depicted on the reverse of this coin is a rather ambitious subject and it appears that either very few of these coins were struck or that they were hoarded as rather special, because of their iconography. Whatever the case may be, the ones that survived are very difficult, almost impossible, to find in excellent quality, without surface flaws, poor centring and other problems. This collector has looked for them throughout his collecting years with very little success.

(405.5) THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 3rd century BC. Æ Chalkous (14mm, 1.79 g, 11h). Nymph’s head r., her hair rolled around her head and hanging loose behind, wearing pendant earring and plain necklace / ΛΑΡI l. down, Perseus, naked but for chlamys over his shoulders, standing facing, holding in r. harpa upwards, in l. the head of Medusa. Rogers 321, fig. 161 (same obverse die). See also Nomos 4, 1177 (same obverse die). Good Fine, very dark chocolate brown patina; some minor edge corrosion at 12 o’clock on the reverse, the head of Perseus affected by it and not wholly in the flan.

Said to have been found in the environs of an ancient rural sanctuary in the vicinity of Thebes in Boiotia .

This collector has a rather far fetched theory about the top of the reverse of this coin being the only part of it that demonstrates some corrosion. Careful examination reveals what seems to be ancient intervention at that particular part of the coin’s edge and this also explains the green hard deposit that subsequently formed there. Perhaps there was an attempt to solder a metal loop on it so that it could serve as an amulet, to hang on a cord around someone’s neck. Whether the operation was successful or not we cannot know but, as this coin is said to have been found in a sanctuary near a city quite distant from its original minting location, it could mean that the pilgrim visiting the sanctuary dedicated it to the local god as something precious that he or she always carried with them.

(405.6) THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 2nd century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17mm, 5.57 g, 7h). Laureate head of Zeus r., border of dots / ΛΑΡΙΣΑΙΩ[Ν] l. down, Athena Itonia in fighting attitude r., below to r., monogram. Rogers 323, fig. 162 (same obv. die). Near VF, dark green patina, the rev. softly struck; very rare.

Rogers’ interpretation of the Achaian monogram on this rare 2nd century coin is that the city has joined the Achaian League; he does not connect it to Achilles as was the case for the earlier coins.