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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 736. Estimate $300.
Sold for $700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Skotussa. Early 4th century BC. AR Obol (10mm, 0.98 g, 7h). Head of Herakles r. wearing lion’s skin headdress / Σ-KO below, forepart of bridled horse walking r., being led by its rein, all in incuse square. See Triton XIV (4 January 2011) 118 (same dies). Good VF, lightly toned; well struck and centred, an excellent specimen and quite rare.

This obol is only slightly different from the trihemiobol of lot 741 below; the only way to tell them apart is the size of the devices. And strangely enough, when compared to the obol of lot 735.2 above, although the obverse style of this coin is later and the Σ on the reverse has replaced the earlier 𐌔, the incuse square indicates an earlier date. This is one more case that acts as a warning, reminding us to avoid classifying and dating coins by their earlier or later type of letters, by their incuse square or concave field reverses and finally, by their “archaic” or “classical” style. The transition from Archaic to Classical did not happen overnight or at the same time in all coinages, it was a slow process, with some artists lagging behind because they were used to the earlier styles and could not bring themselves to change handwriting just because it was becoming fashionable amongst the younger generation.