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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 636. Estimate $150.
Sold for $3250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Pharsalos. Mid to late 5th century BC. AR Trihemiobol (11.5mm, 1.03 g, 10h). Head of Athena r., wearing crested Attic helmet / Φ and A to l. and r. above; P and Σ to l. and r. below retrograde, helmeted rider to r. on prancing horse, his r. arm raised above his head brandishing a lagobolon, dotted exergue line; all in incuse square with rounded corners . Lavva 23 (V15/R15), plate I, 23 (same dies, described as an obol). Good Fine, lightly toned, reverse a little off centre; a great rarity and the second known early trihemiobol (the other in the Empedocles collection in Athens).

Lavva’s plate II, 43 repeats the photo of plate I, 23, obviously in error, as the corresponding text on p.126 describes a hemiobol. Furtermore, the two coins on her plate I that supposedly share V15, are clearly from different obverse dies. The same applies to coins 20 and 22 on the same plate; this time their supposedly identical reverse dies (R6) are different. These two obols therefore (20 and 22) bear no relationship to coin 23 that also has a completely different reverse type, an earlier version of the classical trihemiobol (see below, lot 656). In the opinion of this writer and in spite of the light weights of the two known pieces, this type must be an early trihemiobol that was produced in limited quantities, perhaps because it was not generally accepted due to its different reverse type.