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Research Coins: Feature Auction



Triton XV, Lot: 719. Estimate $100.
Sold for $600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Proerna (IACP 441)

A small city in Achaia, there are Archaic and Classical walls, but the most interesting remains are of a sanctuary of Demeter built in the 4th century BC over an earlier one dating back to the 6th century BC. An even earlier shrine may have also existed, dating to the 7th century BC. Almost nothing is known of the city’s history. As for its coinage, it is solely in bronze and dates, like many others, to the first quarter of the 3rd century BC, probably to the time of Demetrios Poliorketes. The head of the nymph that appears on one of Proerna’s rare issues is astonishingly well made.

THESSALY, Proerna. 3rd century BC. Æ Dichalkon (17mm, 4.00 g, 12h). Head of nymph facing, her head turned slightly to the r., wearing pearl necklace and hair band; border of dots / [Π]POEPNIΩ[N] r. down, Demeter, veiled, standing facing, her head l., holding long torch in her l. and wheat ears in her r., in field l., ʘΦ. Rogers 534 var. [monogram instead of ʘΦ]. Near VF, nice green patina; lower part of obv. softly struck.

The letters ʘΦ here, as well as monograms of the same letters on other coins of Proerna refer to Phthia (ΦʘIA) the mythical name by which Southern Thessaly (including Proerna) was otherwise known. In Plato’s dialogue Criton, Socrates, while in jail and awaiting his execution, dreams of a beautiful woman in white who, referring to Phthia as an allegory for Paradise, tells him that he will soon “arrive at fertile Phthia”.