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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 764. Estimate $500.
Sold for $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Thebai. Circa 220s BC. AR Tetrobol (17.5mm, 4.04 g, 9h). Veiled head of Demeter l., wearing grain wreath; all within border of dots / ʘHBAIΩN l. up, Protesilaos, wearing crested helmet and armour, holding shield with his l. and sword in his r., advancing to r., behind him, prow of galley. SNG Delepierre 1153; see also Nomos 4, 1346 and J. Hirsch XXV (29 November 1909) 711. Near VF, somewhat unevenly toned but clear, centred and a very rare coin.

Acquired from Spink, June 1971, for £ 35.

This is one more opportunity for this writer to air his theory about the unexpected late 3rd century flowering of several Thessalian poleis and the stylish silver coins they struck at the time (see also Nomos 4, the BCD note to lot 1346). The writer believes that this coin, together with lots 755 and 756 (Skotussa), 581 (Phalanna) and 479 (Metropolis), was struck during the late 220s BC when Antigonos Doson formed the Hellenic League (also known as the Symmachy) to oppose Kleomenes III of Sparta. Perhaps it was suggested by the (pro-Macedonian?) ruling councils within these cities that the event should be commemorated by issuing coins. It is also possible that these coins were struck to celebrate the allied victory at the battle of Sellasia in 222. To these silver issues we should probably add a number of contemporary bronzes struck by these and possibly other Thessalian cities that supported or participated in the League.