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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; $500.00 (€425.00)
 


Trikka, Thessaly, Greece, c. 400 - 344 B.C.

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Trikka, modern Tikala, is located in the fertile plain of Thessaly in central Greece. Trikka was the birthplace of three of the Argonauts and also claimed to be the birthplace of Asklepios. Epidaurus also claimed to be the birthplace of Asklepios and that city was the site of his main temple in antiquity.
GB86191. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 788; SNG Cop 266; BMC Thessaly p. 52, 17; Liampi Trikka 7; Rogers 556; Moustaka 181, gVF, attractive style,, weight 7.245 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, Thessaly, Trikka (Tikala, Greece) mint, c. 400 - 344 B.C.; obverse head of the Nymph Trikka right, wearing triple-drop pendant earring; reverse Asklepios seated right on a stool, bearded, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, transverse staff on far side leaning on left arm, feeding bird held in his right hand to snake coiled and rising up before him; rare; $340.00 (€289.00)
 


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)
 


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, c. 420 - 400 B.C.

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Pharsalos, built on a hillside of the Narthacius Mountains, was one of the main cities in Thessaly. In the Persian Wars, Pharsalos sided with the Athenians. In the early 4th century B.C., the city was a part of the Thessalian League. Later, it joined the Macedonian Kingdom under Philip II. The area became a theater of war where the Aetolians and the Thessalians clashed with the Macedonians, especially during the Second and the Third Macedonian Wars. After the defeat of the Macedonian Kingdom, Pharsalos and the whole area became a part of the Roman Republic. Pharsalos is famous for being the scene of the final battle between Caesar and Pompey.
GS87161. Silver hemidrachm, Lavva 63 (V34 / R33), SNG Ashmolean 3914 (same dies), BCD Thessaly II 664.2, HGC 4 632 (R3), aVF, well centered on a tight flan, edge cracks, light bumps and marks, some die wear, some porosity, weight 2.943 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 180o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, c. 420 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with raised cheek-piece, adorned with scroll; reverse Φ−A−P−Σ (clockwise from upper left, P and S reversed), horse's head and neck right, head turned slightly facing, concave field; ex BCD Collection with his round tag; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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. 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.
GS73419. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 324; BMC Thessaly p. 31, 76; SNG Cop 122; HGC 4 453, aVF, etched surfaces, weight 5.755 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 270o, 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, "S + Co. ex Thessaly, Nov. 1997, SFr. 40.-"; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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

Click for a larger photo
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.-"; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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; $180.00 (€153.00)
 




  



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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 Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
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Thessaly