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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
2900103
290, Lot: 103. Estimate $100.
Sold for $500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Pherai. 4th century BC. PB Tessera or token (14mm, 5.46 g, 6h). Head of bearded satyr facing / [Φ]E upward to right, forepart of bull standing right; double-axe to left; all within incuse square. Rogers p. 526, fig. 287; BCD Thessaly II 692; BCD Thessaly I 1305; Pozzi (Boutin) 2864 (all from the same dies). VF, grayish-green patina.


From the BCD Collection.

From the Nomos sale: Lead tokens must have served as proof of voting rights, entrance passes to theaters or other cultural events, fees for river crossings and, often, as a way of distributing goods to entitled citizens (such as grain or other foodstuffs) via a semi-permanent marker that would be exchanged for them. In addition, since lead was easy to melt and reuse, it was ideal for ephemeral activities and could then be made into something else. Lead’s very ephemerality is one reason why so few such tokens have been found, and they must have been produced far more extensively than the surviving examples imply. The existence of the present token indicates that Pherai was a well organized city and functioned according to the rules of an advanced polis.