AR Hemidrachm, 14 mm, 2.83 g
Sear 2182; BMC Thessaly pg. 42, 1 v; SNG Copenhagen 209 v, Grose 4672 (with thanks to Gary Waddingham for providing a scan of the plate to confirm this information)
the BMC and SNG Cop types are with the youth stg in front of the bull. Out of 1,000 Thessalian coins reviewed via coinarchives.com, only seven (4 drachms and 3 hemidrachms) depicted the youth behind the bull. All dated within the period of BCE 500-460 and were all somewhat archaic in their rendering. All were noted as being Rare (3-dr of Larissa 2 and 1 hemidrachm of Larissa), Very Rare (2-a hemidrachm of Pharkadon and a hemidrachm of Larissa) or Extremely Rare (2-both drachms of Pherai).
CNG sold one similar example to the coin depicted in MBS 57 lot 295 (4 April 2001) that is quite similar in style and rendering, CNG notes that the coin is "very rare"
O: naked youth stg r restraining forepart of bull prancing r, rose beneath , petasus blowing backwards off youth’s hd.
The depiction on this coin (and its related types) refers to a sport, much in vogue in Thessaly at the time of its minting. A youth would ride a horse to the bull and then propel himself off the horse and onto the bull literally grabbing the bull by the horns in order to try and bring it down. (info based in part from this website: http://www.infomonnaies.com/fr/monnaie/show-2e-Monnaie-Antique-Grecque-Thessalie.htm)
Another thought is perhaps similar to Jason (of the Argonauts fame) performing the same feat to yoke two bulls to plow a field. This story of course appears somewhat later then these coins though there may have been a local tradition just the same, especially since Jason was a local Thessalian hero. For all we know, this depiction may not have been referring to a sport in vogue at the time at all, but to the legendary Jason himself(??) comments in this regard are welcome.
R: slightly doublestruck Φ]ARKA, appears R & K are retrograde, forepart of horse prancing r all within incuse square. Trident to far left.
photo of the plate coin, 175.7 from the McClean Collection, Grose 4672
More on the type:
George Macdonald writing in his Coin Types; Their Origin & Development (Glasgow; Maclehouse & Sons, 1905) pp. 99-100 writes of this type:
“…the fifth century coins of Crannon, Larissa, the Perrhaebi, Pharcadon, Pherae and Tricca. They have on the obverse a youth seizing a struggling bull by its horns, while on the reverse is a bridled horse. The meaning of the former type has never been doubted since it was first pointed out by Eckhel. But I do not think that the latter has yet been adequately explained. It is usually regarded independently and taken as a symbol of Poseidon. And it is certain that it did come to be looked upon as a thing by itself. I strongly suspect, however, that the designer of the first of these coins---for all are copied from a common original---had a different idea in mind. He intended the two sides to be complementary and the horse to be the horse from which the matador had just dismounted to dispatch his victim. It must be remembered that the horse was an important actor in the drama, and that without him we should not have the whole picture. Nor would there be anything singular in so intimate a connection between obverse and reverse. We need not go beyond Thessaly itself for a parallel. A fourth century drachm of Larissa has on the one side a bull in full career and on the other a galloping horseman in Thessalian garb. Taken together, these two types present us with a sketch of the first stage of the ταυροκαθάψια exactly as described by Suetonius.
[Note: Suetonius Claudius 21, discussing the Saecular Games held by him, Suetonius writes: …and a show in which Thessalian horsemen drove wild bulls across the arena, tired them out, leaped on them, seized hold of their horns and then threw them to the ground.]
It is sometimes said that the bull-fight has a religious significance on coins, inasmuch as performances of the kind were given at games held in honour of Poseidon ταύρεος. But at the best this would be a strangely indirect way of appealing to the god to bear witness to the soundness of the currency. And in any case the inference could hardly be admitted unless it were proved that it was only on the occasion of the games that the coins were minted. There is no evidence to support such a view.”
In many of the 19th century sources this coin (or those like it) are noted on a Rarity Scale as being an “R7” or extremely rare, though not unique or nearly so.
According to CNG the coin is “very rare” thereby signifying that there are perhaps 50 or less known. Though it could well be 30 or less.
This particular type for this particular locale has been noted only selling once in 2001 as noted above via CNG (obviously I suspect there are other sales in the past but have not checked them yet).
The following collections do not list this particular coin with the youth behind the bull:
SNG Vol: III 1592 Lockett Collection
SNG Vol: III 1593 Lockett Collection
SNG Vol: V Ashmolean Museum 3908
SNG Vol: V Ashmolean Museum 3909
SNG Vol: V Ashmolean Museum 3910
SNG Vol: VIII 602 Blackburn Museum 602
SNG Cop, 209, 210, 211 & Supplement
If you can note a resource where this coin is noted, please provide the information accordingly, by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Pharkadon itself, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (Stillwell, R, ed., PUP, 1976) writes:
"The Classical city has been identified with fortifications on an isolated hill above the modern town of Klokoto. The walls, of ashlar with some Byzantine repairs, circle the W and lower of two peaks. The line of the wall runs E along the saddle but turns S to the plain without enclosing the higher peak. The city presumably extended into the plain but has left no visible remains."
BCD Boiotia 412.
Obv: A Boiotian shield.
Rev: θ E - B H A wine kantharos with club of Herakles above all within an incuse square.
Ex: BCD Collection (not in CNG BCD Boiotia Sale & not accompanied by BCD's tag)
Ex: CNG MBS 73, portion of lot 241 (13 September 2006)
Ex: Hixenbaugh Ancient Art (NYC)
SNG Levante 944 (this coin is the plate specimen, cf. plate photo below)
O: Turreted bust Tyche to right
R: Sandan to right upon horned animal within pyramid TAPΣΕΩΝ to right monogram 39 to left see example to far right here.
Ex: Edoardo Levante (1932-2007) Collection
Ex: CNG Triton VII, portion of lot 1340 (12 January 2004)
Ex: Amphora/David Hendin
BMC 1741, Cohen 752, RIC 807 (citations with thanks to Curtis Clay who states that this coin is scarce)
O: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS PP TRP COS IIII, radiate bust r.
R: Mars advancing right with spear in right hand and trophy in left. SC
Obv: Wreathed head of nymph Histiaia right
Rev: IΣTI, Bull standing right before grape vine; monogram to right.
BCD 374 (R)-375 (O); SNG Copenhagen 516; BMC Central Greece page 125, 4; Traite II 119, Grose 5725
Dealer’s notes: Good VF, well centered. Darkly toned (almost black). Scarce
Ex Stack's 15-17 March 1979, lot 119 (sold for $160.00 + 5%). According to the Stack's Public Auction Sale Catalogue, the coin was noted as "Rare, VF" with a reserve of $150. Purchased by BCD from the Stack's Auction.
Ex BCD Collection (not in Lanz sale).
Ex CNG "Coin Shop" listed 19 November 2004 for $295.
Milne 256v, a similar coin naming the same magistrate sold in the Fritz Rudolf Künker Münzhandlung Auction 133 on 11 October 2007, Lot 7596 per coinarchives.com
Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right. Letter "B" left in field.
Rev: ΣΜΥΡΝΑΙΩΝ, The poet Homer seated left, holding staff and scroll, name of magistrates to left ΑΙΣΧΡΙΩΝ/ΔΙΟΓΕΝΟΥ . (Aiskrion son of Diogenes)
Dealer’s remarks: Good VF, attractive glossy brown patina. Scarce variant. Nicely centered with all letters clear.
Strabo mentions specifically this issue of bronze coinage from Smyrna when, discussing the city, he says "there is also a library; and the 'Homereum', a quadrangular portico containing a shrine and wooden statue of Homer; for the Smyrnaeans also lay especial claim to the poet and indeed a bronze coin of theirs is called a Homereum" (Strabo, Geographica XIV, I.37, transl. by H.C. Jones, The Geography of Strabo, VI [Loeb, 1960], pp. 245-247). (http://cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=58802)
Ex: CNG Triton VIII, portion of lot 1880 (10 January 2005)
SGCV 7154, CSE 323 v
O: radiate hd of Antiochus r
R: eagle stg l sceptre in bkgd BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY on r, on l. EΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ
IE in field to the left, beneath eagle S.E. Date BQP (192)
SGCV 708, CSE 248
O: radiate hd of Antiochus as Dionysus r obs o/c to lower r
R: elephant adv l holding torch in trunk, in field to r ΣTA and cornucopia, above BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ/ ANTIOXOY below EΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ/[ΔIONYΣOY]
SGCV 5628 v
O: Hd of Pompey r (star below chin is not visible)
R: Athena stg l holding nike, shield adjacent to r. (no inscription visible though should read ΠΟΝΠΗΙΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ETOYC----)
AR Tetrobol, 3/2 centuries BCE, 2.33 g, 16 mm.
S.2496 v, BMC 64 v., BCD Euboia 392 v., CH VIII (1994), plate XXXIII, 12 (this coin)
O: Nymph hd r (not one of the more pleasing portraits from this series)
R: nymph std on galley, I]Σ T[I]/AIEΩИ (retrograde "N") bipennis under galley with sigma before it.
Dealers auction note: "VF, minimally off-ctr on a good sized flan, tiny edge split, nice metal with lt tone, decent, Ex-BCD with his tag."
Ex: F. Robinson MBS 70, 6 November 2007, 31
Ex: BCD (not in Lanz Catalogue)
According to BCD's tag, "Ex: Aug 85/North of Lari. hd/Cost: 5000 drs"
at that time the drachm exchange would indicate a USD cost of between $43-$50 or thereabouts. (according to my wife who was in Greece in 1985 the drachm was exchanging at 100-115 to 1 USD)
According to Coin Hoards VIII (1994) the hoard in question is #517, North of Larissa, Greece 1985 (or per BCD August 1985).
The hoard was deposited circa BCE 75 and it's contents consisted of 1,260+ silver pieces of which more than 60% were either late Tetrobols of Histiaia or Hellenistic Triobols of Sikyon. The disposition of the hoard is noted as "in trade".
As noted above a number of pieces from the hoard are plated in CH VIII and this particular coin is one of them. (thanks to Sveto K. for the info from CH VIII***)
Photo of CH VIII, plate XXXIII, #12 (as noted above).
Another source regarding this hoard is found in a footnote appearing on p. 200 of John D. Grainger's book The League of the Aitolians (Brill, 1999), footnote #52 reads "The latest hoard to contain an Aitolian coin is dated from c. 75 BC (Coin Hoards VIII, 517, from North of Larisa in Thessaly)." According to CH VIII, 517; only one coin from the hoard was of the Aitolian League and that was a quarter stater.
GCV 2451, BCD Boiotia 276b-277 var. For type.
O: Boiotian shield
R: forepart of horse r. T above, A before both turned slightly clockwise, all within incuse concave circle with curved edge.
Ex: Ancient Byways/Copper Penny
Ex: Tamco Numismatics (Sweden)
Map of Boiotia, showing Tanagra's location highlighted in red about 25 km east of Thebes.
map adapted from the BCD Boiotia catalogue
Ex: BCD Collection
Ex: Jacob Hirsch (1874-1955) stock with original coin ticket.
Green card is Hirsch's denoting R/G meaning “Rhousopoulos Greichen” originating in the Rhousopoulos collection, white card is BCD's.
According to BCD Peloponnesos catalogue, “The O / ΔΕ…issues are among the last silver issues of the 3rd century, and were almost certainly struck just prior to the weight reduction in c. 250/240….” (p.270 note after lot #1105)
RCV 4332, C. 1066, RIC II 1088a (Hadrian), BMCRE 1948 (Hadrian)
considered Rare, though CNG sold a reasonably nice example from the Weller collection for only $120 off a $200 estimate.
O: bare hd bust r., IMP T AELIVS CAESAR ANTONINVS
R: joined hands and caduceus, TRIB POT COS SC
Warren, Silver 21-3; BCD Peloponnesos 292 v reverse, BCD Peloponnesos 293.1 v. obverse; SNG Copenhagen 64-5. VF, struck on short and thick flan.
Obv: retrograde ΣΙ, Chimaera standing left.
Rev: Dove flying left; Dove flying left; pellet above tail.
Ex: ANE/Svetolik Kovačević (Canada)
Ex. BCD collection.
Ex: "Near Itea hoard" as per coin ticket. According to Andrew Meadows at the ANS (who I thank for the information), the Itea hoard is listed in Coin Hoards VIII as hoard #254. It was found in several lots around 1983 and consisted of 1,500+ coins, of which 640 reside in the Numismatic Museum in Athens, Greece and the remaining 900 are in commerce.
The hoard has a date of deposit approximately of between BCE 290-270.
Here is the information as it appears (somewhat redacted) in CH VIII, courtesy of Sveto K.:
From COIN HOARDS VIII; 254 (published 1994)
254 Near Itea, Greece, 1983?
Burial: c. 290-270 BC
Contents: 1500+ AR
Recorded in several lots:
A: 321 AR + 321 AR
B: 900+ AR
Disposition: A: In Athens Museum, Protonotarios donation (as noted in BCH 114-JG)
B: in trade.
Sources: BCH 114 (1990), p. 704; AΔ 37 (1982), 1989, p. 1; AΔ 38 (1983), 1989, p. 1
Lot A to be fully published by M. Oeconomidou; lot B to be published by U. Wartenberg.
From source BCH 114 (1990) p. 704, Chronique des Fouilles en 1989; Athènes, musées et collections:
Les collections du musée se sont, comme chaque année, enrichies de monnaies provenant de fouilles…et des donations (trésor d’hémidrachmes en argent du IV e s.av. J-C, trouvé en mer dans une amphore, près des côtes de Locride ou d’Eubée, et offert par P. Protonotariou).
[Translation from French by JG-"Chronicle of the Excavations in 1989; Athens, museums and collections: Numismatic museum:
As each year goes by, the collections of the museum grow richer from the coins originating from excavations…and donations (a find of silver hemidrachms from the 4th century BCE found at sea in an amphora near the coast of Locris or Euboia and offered by P. Protonotariou)."]
Lindgren III, 454; GCV 4697 v
O: hd of Dionysus wreathed with ivy
R: [KAYC]TPIANΩN, lyre formed from bucranium, monogram
Ex: Copper Penny/Ancient Byways
(Sear notes that these coins were “issued in the name of the inhabitants of the plain of the lower Kayster [p. 428 GCV], it should be noted that Ephesus was on the Kayster further to the west.)
O: Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right IMP C VICTORINVS PF AVG
R: Salus standing left, holding scepter, feeding from patera a snake rising from altar to left. SALVS AVG
Ex-Braithwell Hoard The Braithwell Hoard was discovered in 2002 in South Yorkshire UK by a Metal Detectorist. It contained 1331 antoniniani, the vast majority of which were of the Romano-Gallic empire. Richard Abdy and J.D. Hill have recorded the hoard, and will be publishing the full details in the near future. This coin is from that hoard and has been assigned a "Braithwell" number per the preliminary hoard report.
This coin as with many others from this hoard is likely ex-CNG since CNG had 1,161 of the 1,331 coins being sold through their "coin shop" on-line. There were 11 lots of 100 coins each being sold by CNG as well, this coin may originate with one of those lots.
Ex: Braithwell Hoard, Yorkshire, UK, 2002
Ex: Imperial Coins (NY)
Info from the PORTABLE ANTIQUITIES SCHEME http://www.finds.org.uk/treasure/record.php?recordID=510
Treasure record - 2002 T221
Treasure ID: 2002 T221 Report year: 2002 Page #: 201
Object type: Coin
Dates: Deposited: -
Description: The 1,331 coins are all ranging in issue dates from AD 253-274, the group is very typical in composition of the many Romano-British coin hoards buried between the fall of the breakaway Gallic Empire in AD 274 and the establishment of the British Empire of Carausius in AD 286.Central Empire:
Valerian and Gallienus (AD 253-60), 2 (Rome)
Gallienus and Salonina (AD 260-8), 101 (Rome, Milan, Siscia Viminacium)
Claudius II (AD 268-70), 85 (Rome, Milan, Siscia Viminacium, Eastern)
Divus Claudius, 10 (Rome, uncertain)
Quintillus (AD 270), 6 (Rome, Milan)
Aurelian (AD 270-5), 1 (Milan)
Probus (AD 276-82), 6 (Rome, Gaul).
Postumus (AD 260-9), 14 (Mint I, Milan)
Laelian (AD 269), 1 (Mint II)
Victorinus (AD 269-71), 282 (Mint I, Mint II, uncertain)
Divus Victorinus, 1 (uncertain)
Tetricus I and II (AD 271-4), 725 (Mint I, Mint II, uncertain)
Grand Total: 1,331
Note: Thirteen medium to large sherds from a single reduced grey ware jar were recovered with the hoard. These sherds came from the same vessel that appears to have been only recently broken. The sherds include more than half of the rim of the vessel and part of the upper vessel wall. This is unusual, as in most coin hoard cases only parts from the base and lower vessel wall are recovered. No base sherds were recovered with this hoard. Weighing 632 grams (mean sherd weight 48.6g), these sherds come from a jar with a rim diameter of about 8cms and a maximum girth of about 16-18 cms. The inside of the pot is stained green with a bronze patina due to contact with the coins. This shows that the coins were originally contained inside the jar. Grey ware vessels were a common coarse ware made throughout Roman Britain.
Report author: R ABDY AND J D HILL
Valuation applied: £200 [note: with the bulk of the hoard being sold by CNG, the total retail has exceeded $17,000 US]
Disposition: Four coins acquired by the British Museum and one by Doncaster Museum; the remainder returned to the finder.
Discovery date: Sunday 1st September 2002
County: SouthYorkshire Parish: Braithwell
Finder: Mr P Leech
Method of discovery: Whilst searching with a metal detector.
Google Earth Map showing location of Braithwell highlighted in yellow.
M. 37, Hendin 482
O: Hebrew inscription: Mattatayah Ha-Kohen Ha-Gadol… “Mattatayah, the High Priest…”
R: Greek in 2, 3, or 4 lines within wreath and border of dots
Ex: Ofek Coins (Israel)
Yohanan Hyrcanus II BCE 67, 63-40
AE Prutah, 1.72 g, overstruck on a prutah of Alexander Yannai, H. 467
O: Hebrew within wreath over Alexander Yannai inscriptions
R: Cornucopiae overstruck on s/a/a ΛΕ seen at 7 & 8 o’clock from prior coin.
Ex: Copper Penny/Ancient Byways
SG 5853 v
O: laur hd of Zeus rt.
R: Zeus std left. [ANTI]OXEΩ[N]/THΣ/MHTPOΠOΛEΩΣ
In ex. ΑΛΣ = Seleucid era year of 231 equivalent to BCE 82-81
Ex: Amphora/D. Hendin
O: Head of nymph Euboeia right
R: EY, head of bull right facing slightly left, fillets hanging from horns; lyre right.
Wallace 113, fourth specimen (dies L/58; this coin); BCD 17.
Dealer's notes: Good VF, toned, reverse double struck.
EX: Euboea circa 1952 Hoard (IGCH 164)
EX: William P. Wallace Collection (Professor of Classics, University of Toronto)
EX: BCD Collection (not in Lanz catalog)
EX : CNG EA 117 :11 (29 June 2005)
EX : Y. Mishriki/Sphinx Numismatics (Canada)
Acquisition : 2007
IGCH 164 notes that the hoard was deposited c. BCE 250 and that the contents were 66+ silver coins, consisting of Euboean League Drachms. Disposition was to a private collection in Athens.
Source is noted as W.P. Wallace, The Euboian League and Its Coinage, NNM 134. New York (1956), p. 53, no. 5.
Wallace writes the following:
"5. Hoard in private possession in Athens in 1952. 66+ AR.
All in the lot shown to me were Euboian League drachms:
4-no symbol, including Wallace EL 252 and 254
21-kantharos, including Wallace EL 251
21-lyre, including Wallace 249 and 253
9-satyr's head, including Wallace EL 250 and 255
Two of these coins did not come from the hoard, but which two was uncertain. No information was available about date or place of finding. I was able to weigh and examine these coins (which had apparently been cleaned, but were in good condition) and to observe that those without symbol seemed somewhat more worn than those with the grapes symbol; both of these were more worn than those with the kantharos, lyre, or satyr's head, the distinction between which was not clear; and those with the dolphin were the least worn. The coins are all entered in the catalogue."
On page 101, Wallace writes "...a very high percentage of those struck from the later dies (as numbered here) are double struck, some so slightly that it is not easily noticed except with a glass, but many very badly double-struck (e.g., no. 113 on Plate X) . It almost looks as if, for some reason, less competent workmen used the later (?) dies, and struck far fewer coins with them, much less well."
According to Sear, Eretria (became the capital and mint of the Euboian League, formed in 411 BC), Greek Coins & Their Values, Vol. 1(1978), p. 231. That was according to Wallace it's initial formation.
Map showing location of Euboia/Euboea as well as Eretria.