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Beautiful Silver Drachm of Larissa with Facing Head of Nymph


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Greek: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1295397
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This beautiful Greek coin is a silver drachm attributed to the mint and city of Larissa, and dates circa 400-380 B.C. This piece is approximately 20mm in diameter, weighs 6.15 g., and is in EF-/EF condition. This piece also has extremely high relief and the obverse features the beautiful facing head of the nymph Larissa; and the reverse shows a grazing horse standing right on a ground line, with Greek lettering below meaning "Larissa". There is also the minute lettering "AI" seen below the belly of the horse, and this represents the signature of the die artist. According to C. Lorber in "The Silver Facing Head Coins of Larissa", Early Classification, Type 3: "The artist 'AI' became the mint's chief engraver, displacing he who signed himself 'SIMO', and the present dies are among the finest in the entire series." The coin offered here is one of the earliest dies of the series, and the early dies of the series had the two artist signatures noted above. In addition, the flank of the standing horse has a brand that appears to be the Greek letter "X". This "X" brand is also one of the few known examples, and appears only on this particular reverse die. It is unknown as to the meaning of this brand, and as this coin was signed by the artist, there certainly has to be a meaning behind this symbol. The early series with the facing heads of the mint Larissa predating circa 380 B.C., are the most desirable among collectors, and have a high degree of art. The attractive facing head seen here is leaning to the left, as the right shoulder is raised, and the female image has flowing hair that appears to be moving with the wind. The artist was able to convey a great deal of movement on the obverse, and in contrast, a complete sense of calm is conveyed on the reverse with the standing and grazing horse. This coin type, along with the artist's signature, is also considered by many numismatists to be a masterpiece, not only within the series, but also for the period. An exceptional coin of great beauty which is now scarce on the market. C. Lorber, Early Classification, no. 20.2. Ex: Harlan Berk collection, Chicago, Ill., circa 1990's. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: