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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Greece ▸ ThessalyView Options:  |  |  |   

Thessaly, Greece

Thessaly was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000 B.C. - 2500 B.C. Mycenaean settlements have also been discovered. In Archaic and Classical times, the lowlands of Thessaly became the home of baronial families, such as the Aleuadae of Larissa or the Scopads of Krannon. In the 4th century B.C. Jason of Pherae transformed Thessaly into a significant military power. Shortly after, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of Thessaly, and the region was associated with the Macedonian Kingdom for the next centuries. Later Thessaly became part of the Roman province of Macedonia.Thessaly


Mopsion, Thessaly, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Mopsion issued only bronze coins, and only c. 350 - 300 B.C. In Nomos 4, BCD notes, "The bronzes of Mopsion are practically impossible to find in nice condition and without flaws or corrosion. They are also very rare and desirable because of the their spectacularly eloquent reverse. The nicest one to come up for auction realized $18,000..."

Mopsion, in the Peneus valley half way between Larissa and Tempe, took its name from the Lapith Mopsos, a son of Ampyx. Mopsos learned augury from Apollo, understood the language of birds, and became an Argonaut seer. As depicted on this coin, he was one of the Lapiths who defeated the Centaurs. This battle was a favorite subject of Greek art. While fleeing across the Libyan desert from angry sisters of the slain Gorgon Medusa, Mopsos died from the bite of a viper that had grown from a drop of Medusa's blood. Medea was unable to save him, even by magical means. The Argonauts buried him with a monument by the sea, and a temple was later erected on the site.
GB87120. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 484, BCD Thessaly I 1210, Rogers 412, McClean 4648, HGC 4 537 (R2), SNG Cop -, Pozzi -, BMC Thessaly -, gF, dark garnet and black patina, well centered, a little rough, weight 8.082 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 225o, Mopsion (Bakraina(?), Greece) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus facing slightly right, vertical thunderbolt to right; reverse MOΨ-EI-ΩN, Lapith Mopsos standing facing, nude, his head turned right, raising club in right hand and extending his left hand, fighting centaur that is rearing left and raising a bolder over its head with both hands preparing to throw it; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "HK ex Thess., April 02, $275.-"; very rare; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 404 - 370 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS86616. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar, early, group 3, head type 17 (O55/R1); Lorber Early, type 13, 26.1 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 215 (same dies); HGC 4 430, VF, toned, obv. die rust/wear and flaw below chin and left cheek, rev. double struck, porosity, weight 5.862 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 404 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly right, ampyx in hair, drop earrings(?), necklace with central bead, necklace is also the neck truncation; reverse horse with straight legs grazing right on ground line, ΛARIΣ above; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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BCD Thessaly II notes this obverse die appears to have been altered (reworked).
GS73413. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 3 (O25/R6), BCD Thessaly II 197 (same dies), Lorber Early 11.- (same obverse die), F, etched surfaces, die wear, weight 5.793 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly right, partially radiate hair with hornlike locks of hair on crown above ampyx, drop earring, plain necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPI above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, Sept. 2004, €55.-" ; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73416. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 313; BMC Thessaly p. 31, 76; SNG Cop 122; HGC 4 453, F, some light scratches, weight 5.223 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg bent and raised, preparing to roll onto the ground, ΛAPI/ΣAIΩN in two lines starting in exergue, ending above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, June 95, SFr. 50.-"; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 369 - 360 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73410. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly I 1146, HGC 4 439 (R1), BCD Thessaly II 281 - 282, F, etched obverse surface, punch on obverse left eye, weight 5.906 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 369 - 360 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly right, hair floating freely, round curl on right, neck truncation elongated and very gently bow-shaped; reverse ΛAPI above, horse grazing right with straight legs; ex BCD Collection with his tag; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73426. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 324; BMC Thessaly p. 31, 76; SNG Cop 122; HGC 4 453, gF, etched surfaces, porous, weight 5.781 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 315o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, earring, and wire necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg raised, preparing to lie down, ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN in two lines, first line in exergue, ending above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "G/ni ex Thessaly, May 1997, SFr 60.-"; $160.00 (€136.00) ON RESERVE


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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This obverse is described in Lorber Early as wearing a taenia instead of an ampyx.

The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
SH73427. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 1 (O7/R2); Lorber Early 29.5 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 217 - 218; HGC 4 432, F, corrosion, weight 5.382 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing taenia and necklace, hair floating freely; reverse horse grazing left, legs straight, short forelegs, shoulders lower than rump, grass under nose, ΛAPIΣAI above; ex BCD Collection; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Thessalian League, Greece, c. 146 - 100 B.C.

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The Thessalian League was a loose confederacy of city-states and tribes in the Thessalian valley in N. Greece. Philip II of Macedon took control of Thessaly in 344 B.C and it remained under Macedonia until the Roman victory in 197 B.C. The league was reestablished in 196 B.C. but had little autonomy after Thessaly became part of the province of Macedonia in 146 B.C.
GS88330. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 819; SNG Cop 300; SNG Alpha Bank 293; McClean 4958; BMC Thessaly p. 4, 36; HGC 4 213 (S), aVF, rainbow toning, tight flan, struck a little flat, porosity, spots of corrosion, weight 4.078 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, probably struck at Larissa mint, magistrates Gauana and Poly..., c. 146 - 100 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, ΓAYANA (magistrate's name) downward behind; reverse ΘEΣΣA/ΛΩN in two vertical lines, upward on right, then downward on left, Athena Itonia striding right, hurling spear with right hand, shield on her left arm, bunch of grapes outer right, Π−O/Λ−Y (magistrate) in two divided lines across lower inner field; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73425. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, well centered, die wear, obverse rough, weight 5.760 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 45o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex Spink's Auction 36, 30/31 May 84, lot 11 (part), the lot for £130.-"; scarce; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 120 - 70 B.C.

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Strabo, in about 17 A.D. wrote: "On the territory of the people of Apollonia in Illyria there is what is called a nymphaeum. It is a rock which emits fire. Below it are springs flowing with hot water and asphalt..." The Nymphaeum was likely a burning natural gas seep.
GS83574. Silver drachm, BMC Thessaly p. 59, 41 - 42; SNG Cop 398; Maier p. 15, 120, VF, bumps, scratches, corrosion, small edge split, weight 3.05 g, maximum diameter 17.34 mm, die axis 90o, Apollonia mint, magistrates Aibatios & Chairenos, c. 120 - 70 B.C.; obverse AIBATIOΣ, cow standing left, head turned back right, suckling calf standing right, grain ear left in exergue; reverse AΠOΛ − XAI−PH−NOΣ, the Nymphaeum of Apollonia ablaze, lagobolon below, within double linear square with sides curved inward; very rare; $125.00 (€106.25)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (London, 1992 - ).
Burrer, F. Münzprägung und geschichte des thessalischen Bundes in der römischen kaiserzeit bis auf Hadrian (31 v. Chr. - 138 n. Chr.). (Saarbrücken, 1993).
Classical Numismatic Group. The BCD Collection of the Coinage of Thessaly. Triton XV Auction. (New York, 3 January 2012).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber. (1922 - 1929).
Gardner, P. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thessaly to Aetolia. (London, 1883).
Grose, S. Catalogue of the McClean Collection of Greek Coins, Fitzwilliam Museum, Vol. II - The Greek mainland, the Aegaean islands, Crete. (Cambridge, 1926).
Herrmann, F. "Die Silbermünzen von Larissa in Thessalien" in ZfN 35 (1925), p. 1-69.
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of Northern and Central Greece: Achaia Phthiotis, Ainis, Magnesia, Malis, Oita, Perrhaibia, Thessaly...Sixth to First Centuries BC. HGC 4. (Lancaster/London, 2014).
Kraay, C. Archaic and Classical Greek Coins. (London, 1976).
Liampi, K. "Trikka" in LIMC 8 (Munich, 1992).
Lavva, S. Die Münzprägung von Pharsalos. Saarbrücker Studien zur Archäologie und Alten Geschichte, Bd. 14. (Saarbrücken, 2001).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints from the Lindgren Collection. (1989).
Lorber, C & C. Shahar. The Silver Facing Head Coins of Larissa. (2005).
Lorber, C. "Thessalian Hoards and the Coinage of Larissa" in AJN 20 (2008), pp. 119 - 142.
Mildenberg, L. & S. Hurter, eds. The Dewing Collection of Greek Coins. ACNAC 6. (New York, 1985).
Moustaka, A. Kulte und Mythen auf thessalischen Münzen. (Würzburg, 1983).
Nomos AG, Auction IV. Coins of Thessaly, The BCD Collection. (Zurich, 10 May 2011).
Papaevangelou-Genakos, C. "Metrological Aspects of the Thessalian Bronze Coinages: The Case of Phalanna" in Obolos 7.
Reinder, H. "Appendix 3: The Coins of the City of Halos" in New Halos: a Hellenistic Town in Thessalia, Greece. (Utrecht, 1988).
Rogers, E. The Copper Coinage of Thessaly. (London, 1932).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 3: Greece: Thessaly to Aegean Islands. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 12: Thessalien-Illyrien-Epirus-Korkyra. (Berlin, 2007).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain III, R.C. Lockett Collection, Part 3: Macedonia - Aegina. (London, 1942).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain V, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Part 4: Paeonia - Thessaly. (London. 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 1, Collection Réna H. Evelpidis. Part 1: Italie. Sicile - Thrace. (Athens, 1970). (Italy, Sicily - Thrace).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 3: Collection Antoine Christomanos. (Athens, 2004).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 5: Numismatic Museum, Athens. The A. G. Soutzos Collection. (Athens, 2007).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 6, The Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection, From Thessaly to Euboea. (Athens, 2011).

Catalog current as of Monday, March 25, 2019.
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Thessaly