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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 701. Estimate $500.
Sold for $9000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Pherai. Alexander. Tyrant, 369-358 BC. AR Drachm (18mm, 5.88 g, 1h). Laureate head of Ennodia r., wearing triangular pendant drop earring; in field r., torch / AΛ[EΞ]ANΔP from above, r. down and circular, lion’s head r., with open jaws; below, boar’s head r. De Sartiges 227 (this coin). Good VF, toned; obv. a little off centre and partly double struck behind the head; the subtle addition of a boar’s head below on the reverse was not noticed up to now; rare. From the collections of Raul Abecassis and Vicomte de Sartiges.

Ex J. Schulman 248 (19 November 1968) 103; Sotheby’s 28 May 1900 (Late Collector) 255.

The writer saw this coin for the first time when Mr. Abecassis was kind enough to show him his magnificent Greek coin collection. At that time he did not have an Alexander of Pherai drachm, so he asked the owner to give him an opportunity to acquire it, if he ever decided to part with it. Years later, when he visited the numismatic department of Bank Leu in January 1976, the coin was waiting for him, priced at CHF 14000, about double its market value at the time. It was, of course, simply unthinkable to ignore such a thoughtful gesture, coming from a great collector and a charming gentleman, but the writer has always wondered what proportion of that amount went to the owner and what was the commission of the fourth floor sharks. One year later Mr. Abecassis would die in Brasil taking the answer with him but leaving behind a magnificent collection that was slowly dispersed in several Leu sales. This collector has a photocopy of the photographic plates of the complete collection, his sole memento of a real “old-time gentleman” whose kindness and generosity could only be matched by his impeccable taste.