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This should be an easy one, but...


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In the spirit of "puzzle coins", I recently purchased this one (seller's photo).


12.2mm 1.9g

I must admit that I jumped the gun on this one. I thought this must be some lettering both above and below on the reverse, but it didn't take me too long to realize that above the line we have a horse. I'm not sure if the coin was stamped on a way too small flan or whether someone got hungry over the ages (or both), but regardless - we have a horse on top and some lettering on the bottom.

When I receive the coin, I may be able to make more sense over the lettering, but the first letter seems to be a P. The second seems like the point of either an A or a Λ.

At first, it seemed like the attribution was obvious - Larissa. I'm a big fan of Larissa's coinage, and here's my closest example.


Thessaly, Larissa
4th century BCE
17.75mm 4.28g
Obverse: Head of the nymph Larissa right
Reverse: ΛΑΡI-ΣAIΩN, horse standing right, preparing to roll
Attribution: Rogers 288; BCD Thessaly II 390.4
Ex BCD Collection


There are two problems with this attribution:

  1. The lettering doesn't match up well. Maybe for some reason ΛΑΡΙ is reversed? I have coins with reversed inscriptions, so I guess it could happen.
  2. I did find examples of left facing nymphs, however, the hair doesn't look right. Pretty much all the Larissa examples I found with the head facing left had it in a bun. This looks almost like a Phrygian cap, though I also wonder whether it could be Athena and the crest is mostly worn.

So, I started looking around a bit more and found the possibility of Alexandria Troas. Their earliest coinage also included a horse grazing. Here's mine.


Troas, Alexandria Troas
281-261 BCE
AE 22mm 8.03g
Head of Apollo right
Horse feeding right, palm to right, grain ear in exergue "ΑΛΕΞΑΝ-ΔΡΕΩΝ"
Bellinger A28c


Interestingly, on my coin the P matches up. The E doesn't look right, but perhaps on the question coin it could be at an angle. I did find examples with a similar obverse, such as this one.

A third possibility is Neandria. Most of the residents of Neandria were forcibly moved to Alexandria Troas, and so its earliest coinage was similar to Neandria's.


Troas, Neandreia
350 - 310 BCE
AE 17mm 3.94g
Laureate head of Apollo right /
NEAN; horse grazing right; in exergue, corn grain.
SNG von Aulock 1528


The major problem here is I found no example where the inscription is below the horse. Even if it were, the letters don't match up.

Other possibilities are Pella and Thessalonika, who produced later coinage (hence why I don't have examples). However, the obverse and the lettering don't really match.

Pantikapaion had some silver issues where the lettering would match, though I didn't find any bronzes examples and the obverse isn't a great match.

Another possibility could be Atrax. They PA in the name would match the lettering, though I didn't find any examples with it below the horse. The obverse isn't a great match either.


Thessaly, Atrax
Late 3rd - early 2nd centuries BCE
Æ 2.11g, 15mm, 6h
Laureate head of the nymph Boura (or Apollo) to right; hoof of horse to left (or quiver over shoulder)
Horse standing to right, head lowered; ΑΤΡΑ above, [ΓΙΩΝ below]
Cf. BCD Thessaly II 58.11-12 (Boura, horse’s hoof); HGC 4, 358 (Apollo, quiver).
Ex J. Greiff Collection


I've gone the full range from being prepared to label it as a common Larissa issue and setting it aside for a kid, to being especially interested in it. The coin didn't cost very much, so at the very worst as a puzzle coin it's already paid for itself. 🙂

Any ideas? 

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3 minutes ago, Kamnaskires said:

An imitative is definitely possible. Beginner engravers would sometimes get things backwards and were often illiterate, so reversing ΛΑΡΙ would be fair game. It would also explain the odd obverse. My guess is this would be an imitation of Larissa vs Pella based on the lettering.


29 minutes ago, ominus1 said:

..that one lQQks like a early Hispania type to me....

Which type? I looked through ACSearch but didn't find anything close...

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