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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Greece| ▸ |Thessaly||View 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


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, Late 5th-Mid 4th Century B.C., Both Dies Signed By Telephantos

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Signed by the master engraver Telephantos. The tiny letters on the obverse left and reverse exergue are the initials and signature of Telephantos.
GS86218. Silver drachm, Lavva 105 (V51/R58); BCD Thessaly II 640 (same rev. die); BMC Thessaly p. 43, 6 & pl. IX, 9 (same); HGC 4 624; BCD Thessaly I -, Choice gVF, superb classical style of the master engraver Telephantos, well centered and struck, a few light marks, weight 5.794 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 195o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, late 5th-mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with raised cheek-piece, small TH behind neck; reverse Φ−A−P−Σ (clockwise from lower right), Thessalian cavalryman on horse prancing right, wearing petasos, chlamys, and chiton, lagobolon over right shoulder in right hand, reins in left hand; TEΛEΦANTO small, retrograde, and low relief in exergue; SOLD


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 350 B.C.

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When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late fifth century B.C., it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the local fountain nymph Larissa, for whom the town was named, probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses.
SH28928. Silver drachm, SNG Cop 120 - 121, SGCV I 2120, gVF, weight 6.124 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, hair floating freely; reverse ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN, horse grazing right; the finest style!; SOLD


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 440 - 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 and cap, 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.
GS85288. Silver drachm, Lorber 2008 pl. 43, 52 (same dies); BCD Thessaly 1127 (same obv. die); BCD Thessaly II 173; Herrmann group III, H, pl. III, 21; SNG Cop 110, gVF, fine style, tight flan, obverse off center, weight 6.022 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 440 - 400 B.C.; obverse youth wrestling or restraining bull, both to left; reverse ΛAPI/ΣAIA, bridled horse galloping right, rein trailing, all in incuse square; ex Forum (2008); SOLD


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, Late 5th-Mid 4th Century B.C., Obverse Die Signed By Telephantos

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The tiny letters on the obverse and reverse are artist signatures. TH has been identified as master die cutter Telephantos.
SH70331. Silver drachm, Lavva 98a (V49/R56), BCD Thessaly II 639, VF, obverse a little off-center,, weight 6.023 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, late 5th-mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with raised cheek-piece, small TH behind neck; reverse Φ−A−P−Σ (clockwise from upper right, Σ and P retrograde), Thessalian cavalryman on horse prancing right, wearing petasos, chlamys, and chiton, lagobolon over right shoulder in right hand, reins in left hand; SOLD


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, Late 5th - Mid 4th Century B.C.

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The tiny letters on the obverse and reverse are artist signatures. TH has been identified as Telephantos and MI as his "apprentice." The referenced BCD coin with the same obverse die and a reverse die by the same hand, near EF and well-struck, sold for $90,000 plus fees.
SH76215. Silver drachm, Lavva 153 (V72/R89); BCD Thessaly II 642 (same obv. die); cf. BMC Thessaly p. 43, 10; SNG Cop 221, gVF, full helmet crest on obverse, some die wear, weight 5.946 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 135o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, late 5th - mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with Skylla on bowl, raising hand to shade her eyes, tiny TH over MI behind neck; reverse Φ-A-P-Σ (clockwise from upper left, Σ and P retrograde), Thessalian cavalryman on horse prancing right, wearing petasos, chlamys, and chiton, brandishing lagobolon overhead in right hand, reins in left hand, horse wears beaded strand around neck, tiny TH below the feet of the cavalryman; SOLD


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

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"With typical prescience, Colin Kraay conjectured that Larissa's staters and mass drachm issues belonged to the early Macedonian period and in fact resulted from the intervention of Philip II, who probably placed Macedonian silver at the disposal of Larissa. Several of the hoards cited above support the general thrust of Kraay's hypothesis though they illustrate a flow of Larissaean coinage to Macedon, probably before 348, rather than provision of Macedonian silver to Larissa." -- C. Lorber, "A Hoard of Facing Head Larissa Drachms" in SNR 79 (2000).
GS68671. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar, Early Group 6, head type 25 (O118/R1); SNG Cop -, VF, fine style, well centered, a few marks, lightly etched surfaces, weight 5.483 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, hair floating freely. Small eyes. Round earring and wire choker well above the neck truncation; reverse ΛAPI above, horse grazing right; SOLD


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, Late 5th-Mid 4th Century B.C.

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The tiny letters on the obverse and reverse are artist signatures. TH has been identified as Telephantos and MI as his "apprentice." The referenced BCD coin, near EF and well-struck with the same dies, sold for $90,000 plus fees.
SH68673. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 642 corr. (same dies, says signature is MHT on reverse) = Lavva 154 (V72/R90), VF, poorly struck with magnificently engraved dies, weight 6.024 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 45o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, late 5th-mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with Skylla on bowl, raising hand to shade her eyes, tiny TH over MI behind neck; reverse Φ−A−P−Σ (clockwise from upper right, Σ and P retrograde), Thessalian cavalryman on horse prancing right, wearing petasos, chlamys, and chiton, brandishing lagobolon overhead in right, reins in left, horse branded with B on rump and Φ on shoulder, tiny MTH below horse; SOLD


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.
GB85628. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 486 (same dies), BCD Thessaly I 1210 var. (MOΨEIΩN), Rogers 412 var. (same), McClean 4648 var. (same), SNG Cop -, BMC -, gVF, green patina, bold centered strike on a tight flan, small pits including one on tip of nose., weight 7.719 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Mopsion (Bakraina(?), Greece) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus facing slightly right, vertical thunderbolt to right; reverse MOΨEI-ATΩN, 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; very rare; SOLD


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 440 - 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 and cap, 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.
SH19450. Silver drachm, SNG Cop 107 var. (legend break), SNG Ashmolean 3863, gVF, weight 6.016 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 440 - 400 B.C.; obverse youth wrestling or restraining bull, both to right; reverse ΛAP/IΣAIA, bridled horse galloping right, all in incuse square; toned; scarce; SOLD


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, 395 - 344 B.C.

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The use of perspective on ancient coins is rare.
SH26060. Silver drachm, SGCV I 2122; BMC Thessaly p. 30, 63; SNG Cop 124 - 125, gVF, toned, weight 6.012 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, obverse head of the nymph Larissa 3/4 face to left, wearing necklace; reverse ΛAPI/ΣAIΩN, mare walking right with foal beside her; SOLD




  




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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 B|C|D 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 B|C|D| 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, September 16, 2019.
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Thessaly