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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 568. Estimate $100.
Sold for $1100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Phalanna. 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (15mm, 4.74 g, 6h). Youthful male head r. / [ΦA]ΛA above , head of nymph r., diademed (?), and with her hair rolled up around her head; she wears no earring and no necklace is visible. This type not found in consulted references but see Rogers 453, fig. 246 for the smaller denomination, again showing two portraits that have common features (see note below). Near VF, brown patina, struck on a short, thick flan; a very rare type.

This issue must have been rather special; the features of the two heads look very similar which means that a single engraver cut the dies for both sides of the coin. The hairstyle of the nymph is very plain, a radical departure from the delicately embroidered sakkos theme; also, there is no sign of jewellery, as if the artist wanted to omit everything that would distract the viewer and would prevent him from recognizing the personages on the coin. This is one more opportunity for this writer to air his theory that, on certain occasions (and very subtly), real people were portrayed on coins. Here we probably have the images of a brother and a sister; the rest of the story eludes us but our imagination can surely fill in the missing parts...