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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     82000464
Type:     Greek
Region:     THESSALY
City:     Larissa
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Drachm
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     BC 400-380
Weight:     5.77 g
Die Axis:     12 h
Obverse Description:     Head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, hair in ampyx; to lower right, collection mark: inlaid gold facing eagle with spread wings in oval incuse
CM 1 Description:      inlaid gold facing eagle with spread wings in oval incuse
CM 1 Reference:      Gonzaga Collection
Reverse Legend:     ΛΑΡΙΣ
Reverse Description:     Horse grazing right
Mint:     Larissa
Primary Reference:     Lorber-Shahar, E-027/R3
Reference2:     Lorber, Early, 85
Reference3:     SNG Cop -
Reference4:     BMC Thessaly pg. 31, 75
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     Fine
Notes:     Ex Aretusa 2 (13 May 1994), lot 140; Gonzaga Collection. This collector's mark has generated much speculation regarding its owner. Originating with Cavedoni (Atti e Memorie Accademia di Scienze, Lettere, ed Arti [1825]), who based his assumptions on an earlier statement of Maffei and the vague assertion of Eckhel, this mark was assigned to the d'Este family, a wealthy and powerful Renaissance family from the Emilia-Romana region of Italy, whose badge included an eagle. That attribution contradicted earlier numismatists, including Spanheim (Dissertationes de praestantia et usu Numismatum antiquorum [1717]), who assigned the mark to the Gonzagas, the rulers of Mantua, a city with an important ancient Roman connection (it had been the poet Vergil's birthplace). In 1433, the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund granted Gian Francesco Gonzaga (1395-1444), the first Marquis, the privilege a of new coat-of-arms, which contained an imperial eagle badge. This device was included on the town's silver coinage for the next two centuries. Simonetta and Riva (QT VIII [1979]) revisited the controversy, concluding that the mark was of the Gonzaga family. The mark served to inventory the piece to their collection, which, from the extant inventory, included a number of important Roman coins. Beginning in 1628, these coins were dispersed in order to fund the family's political and territorial ambitions. In their follow-up article (QT XII [1983]), Simonetta and Riva presented a heretofore unknown 1653-1654 French narrative (Voyage d'Italie curieux et nouveau [Lyon, 1681]), as further evidence of the Gonzaga connection. Writing of his visit to Mantua, the author, Jean Huguetan, speaks of the coin collection having already been dispersed; these coins, however, can be recognized "by a small eagle with which they have been stamped (À une petite aigle dont on les avoit marquÉes). This statement supports Spanheim's later one regarding similar coins (ex insculpta in iis, Gonzagarum insigni, Aquila) in the possession of the d'Este dukes of Modena. While the d'Este family had married into the Gonzaga family and had acquired specimens in early dispersal of the Mantuan collection, they have no more specific association with this collector's mark.