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A bronze coin of Krannon in Thessaly showing a hydria or similar vessel on a cart Coin Type: Bronze AE19 of Krannon in Thessaly.
Mint and Date: Krannon, 400-344 BCE.
Size and Weight: 18mm x 19mm, 4.10g
Obverse: Horseman in chlamys and petasos galloping right.
Reverse: Hydria, or similar vessel, on a carriage, with a crow or raven standing left on one wheel.
Field Marks: Γ in right field.
Provenance: numismatiklanz (eBay), November 2010
Ref: GCV 2073 var; SNG Copenhagen 43 var?
BW Ref: 002 051 165
Click on the picture for a larger scale view of the coin

Note 1: The vessel on this coin is usually described as a hydria, but this one does not appear to have the handles appropriate to a hydria. Most specimens of this type clearly show a volute krater; see this specimen with a volute krater.

Note 2: On 30 September 2010, the user esnible wrote on the Forum Classical Numismatics Discussion Board, in the context of this coin:

Barclay Head (Historia Numorum, p. 293) says "The curious type of some of the bronze coins, a hydria on wheels accompanied by two crows, is explained by Antigonus Carystius (Hist. Mirab., 15), who says that 'the parasaemon or device of the city consisted of two crows seated on a chariot, and that when there occurred a great drought it was customary to agitate, seiein, or drive about, the chariot whilst petitioning Zeus for rain' (see also Macdonald, Coin Types, p. 65).".

On 1 October, esnible followed up with this, from George MacDonald's "Coin types: their origin and development" on Google Books:

Antigonus of Carystus in his Collection of Marvels has the following passage: "They say that in Crannon in Thessaly there are only two crows; that is the reason why on the honorific decrees which, according to universal custom, have inscribed upon them the arms (parasaemon) of the city, there are figured two crows on a bronze car." The bronze car, he subsequently explains, is a sort of fetish which is kept in a temple and which in times of drought is shaken to the accompaniment of prayers for rain. On some of the bronze coins of Crannon we see the parasaemon exactly as Antigonus describes it.

The content of this page was last updated on 16 November 2010