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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 447. Estimate $300.
Sold for $6500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Meliboia. Mid 4th century BC. AR Obol (12mm, 0.97 g, 12h). Head of the nymph Meliboia facing, turned slightly to l., bunches of grapes in her hair and hanging to l. and r. of her head; border of dots / Μ-E-Λ-IBO below, from l. to r., circular, two bunches of grapes and two vine leaves hanging from a vine branch. Jameson 1097 = J. Hirsch XXI (16 November 1908) Consul Weber 1350 (same dies); see also NC 1895 (acquisitions of 1894) p. 6, 8 and pl. V, 7 (same dies). Near VF, toned, somewhat rough surfaces; a coin of great rarity.

The silver of Meliboia must have been a very small issue as the few known obols are struck from the same pair of dies. ASW is undoubtedly right when he says that some of these issues were not meant for everyday transactions but were one more way for the city to demonstrate to its citizens and neighbours that it too can produce works of art of high calibre. After all, coins such as this, that were probably saved and treasured by most people who acquired them, were cheaper to produce than life size statues and if they traveled they could also serve as an effective way to promote the products of the area and the city’s image in general.