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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000595

Phaloria

Triton XV, Lot: 595. Estimate $300.
Sold for $1100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Phaloria (IACP 411) A Thessalian city of unknown location, various sites have been proposed, including one at Nea Koutsouphliani, where modern quarries have completely obliterated the ancient remains. Thus, as is often the case, the only real evidence we have for the city’s existence comes from reused inscriptions, and from very rare bronze coins that seem to have been struck around the time of Demetrios Poliorketes.

THESSALY, Phaloria (?). 4th century BC. AR Trihemiobol (13mm, 1.14 g, 3h). Wolf’s head and neck r., with a bone(?) in its jaws and its paws outstretched to r., border of dots / Λ above horse’s head, helmeted male figure on horseback prancing r., its chiton billowing behind, spear in its raised r. Unpublished and unknown except for Nomos 4, 1437.3 (same dies). Good Fine, toned with some turquoise hues on the obverse; surfaces sound but with fine crystallization.

This writer is not at all sure that the object in the wolf’s jaws is a bone. What he actually sees is the head of a young animal in profile, its ears erect and its mouth open. Phaloria is at the westernmost end of Thessaly, just under the Pindos range of mountains that are its natural division from Epirus. As it is well known that, up to quite recently, wolves descending from the mountain were a serious threat to the area’s shepherds and their flocks of sheep, it would not be out of context to identify a bleating young lamb, shown only by its head, in the wolf’s jaws.