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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Pelinna. Lot of 2 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 509. Estimate $200.
Sold for $7000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lot of 2 coins.

(509.1) THESSALY, Pelinna. Mid 5th century BC. AR Hemidrachm (15mm, 2.59 g, 8h). Thessalos to r., petasos on his back, two ends of his chlamys just showing below, his body obscured by the forepart of a bull leaping r., holding a band with both hands around the forehead of the animal; all within a border of dots / ΠΕ above l., Λ r. down on its side and inwards, ИI below, bridled forepart of horse r., in incuse square. Unpublished except for its auction appearance (see below) and apparently unique. VF, toned, surfaces lightly crystallized. The body of the bull wrestler is behind the bull’s forepart, a die cutter’s innovation that occurs once more in lot 472 above.

Ex Triton XIII (4 January 2010) 1134, hammer $5000.

See the BCD note after lot 1332 in Nomos 4, that applies to this coin as well. The Nomos Skotussa had a Triton hammer price of $6500 and sold in Nomos, just over a year later, for a hammer of CHF 1800. Sometimes specialized collectors pay dearly for their insistence to make their collection as complete as possible.

(509.2) THESSALY, Pelinna. Mid 5th century BC. AR fourrée Hemidrachm (15.5mm, 2.41 g, 9h). Thessalos to r., holding a band with both hands around the forehead of a bull forepart leaping r., all within a border of dots / Π above l., E to r., IΛ below, bridled forepart of horse r., its bridle trailing below; all in incuse square. Not listed in the reference sources consulted. Near VF, toned and with nearly all the silver plating intact.

Comparison between the two coins in this lot is very interesting. The plated coin is of clearly inferior artwork but when fully coated with silver it could be quite dangerous to the average 5th century Thessalian. Apparently Pelinna, like Skotussa, did not produce taurokathapsia types in anywhere near the quantity struck by the other Thessalian cities that were a part of this loose 5th century Confederacy. The initiative of these two poleis to concentrate on striking coins featuring their own local city themes is probably due to the tendency for independence and experimentation that also characterizes their early output. In this, Skotussa excelled whereas Pelinna turned out to be not so imaginative after all, perhaps because the militaristic themes the city chose to adopt, limited its ability to produce the iconographic alternatives needed for innovative coin production.