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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Phalanna. Lot of 2 coins.

Triton XV, Lot: 588. Estimate $150.
Sold for $800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lot of 2 coins.

(588.1) THESSALY, Phalanna. 3rd quarter of the 4th century BC. Æ Dichalkon (16mm, 4.30 g, 3h). [ΠEΛOPIΣ] below, only traces of the legend visible, head of Zeus Peloris r. / Φ-A-Λ from below r., to l. and up circular, retrograde, head of nymph r., her hair in sakkos tying behind. Rogers 455, fig. 248 var. [same obv. die but rev. inscription as fig. 249]. Near VF, nice brown patina; rev. with a couple of tiny knocks in field r., an unusually appealing coin.

Ex Glendining’s, 14 June 1995, 31, hammer £ 85.

The engraved types on the dies of this coin are clearly larger than the types of the coins that follow. This is the reason it has been called a Dichalkon whereas the balance of the Zeus Peloris types are listed as Chalkoi. The writer realizes that this is not a totally satisfactory approach to the metrology of these types as the difference in size between the heads on the above coin and the smaller heads that follow is not so clear cut. ASW (see Nomos 4, lots 1259 to 1261) adopted the “reverse subject” solution, calling Dichalka the coins having as a reverse subject the nymph’s head and Chalkoi the coins with the nymph’s figure seated. As we shall see further down this does not solve the problem as there are coins with small heads on both obverse and reverse that ASW would call Dichalka when they obviously belong to the lesser denomination.

(588.2) THESSALY, Phalanna. 3rd quarter of the 4th century BC. Æ Chalkous (15.5mm, 2.48 g, 8h). Head of Zeus Peloris r. / Φ-AΛA from below l., up circular, head of nymph r., her hair in sakkos tying behind. Rogers 455, fig. 248 var. [this coin with smaller types than the ones illustrated in Rogers, therefore a chalkous]. Near VF, green patina that has rubbed off a little on the reverse, the obverse slightly off centre.

Ex CNG 76/1 (12 September 2007) 403, hammer $200; Naville - Ars Classica V (18 June 1923) 1770 (withdrawn as... false!).

See the top of p. 149 in Rogers, who probably repeats what he was told without having personally examined the coin and states that it is a forgery by Christodoulos. When compared to similar coins of the Zeus Peloris issue, it immediately becomes apparent that the coin is perfectly genuine. This writer looked up Christodoulos’ forgeries of Phalanna and he found that there are only 3 reverse dies with a nymph’s head of this size, all of the earlier, fine style. No Zeus Peloris imitation was found. It must therefore be assumed that, before the start of the Naville sale, someone said that the coin is an unpublished Christodoulos fake and the auctioneer believed him and withdrew it. The coin then found its way to Colonel Morcom’s collection from where it was passed on to his grandson who sold it in 2007.