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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 511. Estimate $500.
Sold for $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Pelinna. Last quarter of 5th century BC. AR Drachm (19.5mm, 6.03 g, 12h). Thessalian cavalryman on horse prancing r., wearing chlamys and petasos and holding a spear pointing upwards; in field below IA in tiny letters; border of dots / [Π]EΛIИИAII l. up, KOИ above circular, warrior advancing l., wearing petasos and short tunic, holding spear in his raised r. and shield with two more spears with his l. See Nomos 4, 1428.8 (same dies); see also Hess-Leu [11] 24 March 1959, 187 (same dies). VF, has been cleaned and beginning to tone; small edge cut at obv. 10 o’clock and a few very light scratches behind the warrior on the rev.

Acquired from CNG, August 2009, for $4000.

In the early collecting years of this writer, Pelinna drachms were coins that one could admire only in catalogues and reference books. Fortunately, during the last 20 years, some have appeared in the market and it has been possible to acquire all the different types in nice quality. The dress and weapon details that these coins can provide when in relatively unworn state is quite fascinating. For this collector, it was as if a 5th century warrior had just come to life and was standing in front of him. The bronzes of the same general types are equally interesting and one can often detect the same hand at work. This would bring the silver down to the first quarter of the 4th century or update the bronzes to the 5th century. The former would not be impossible but the latter rather unlikely. We tend to forget however that the active working life of a die cutter could easily span two generations and that the bronzes from the same hand could have been struck considerably later from dies made by an artist of a fairly advanced age.