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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 8, Lot: 136. Estimate CHF3000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 21 October 2013. 
Sold For CHF10000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Perrhaiboi. Circa 462/1-460 BC. Obol (Silver, 9.5mm, 0.94 g 6). Forepart of wolf to left; above, monogram of either ΜΑΚ or ΛΑΚ. Rev. ΠΕ Head of bridled horse to right; all within incuse square. Cf BCD 1236 (same reverse die, but no monogram on the obverse). Hoffmann 1890, Photiades Pasha, 136 = Weber 2891 (same dies, now in the BM). Liampi, 1996, I, III, 6 (possibly the same dies, but the monogram is damaged on the illustrated specimen). Extremely rare, the best and most complete known example. Extremely fine.

From a European collection, formed before 2005.

This is quite an extraordinary coin! The types have been known since the Photiades Pasha sale in 1890, but both previously published examples were insufficiently preserved to allow the obverse monogram to be read correctly. In any event, what the obverse monogram signifies is a mystery: magistrates’ names or monograms very rarely appeared on Thessalian coins this early, and being in such a prominent position on the coin would be exceptional. The possibility that it refers to a political grouping or a prominent leader is certainly conceivable. One suggestion is that it refers to the Macedonians who were on Perrhaiboia’s northern border, and implies that there was some form of alliance between the two states.