Islands off Thessaly, Skyros. Didrachm, circa 485-480, AR 8.67 g. Two goats, standing opposed vertically, back to back, with their heads turned inwards and their legs extended; between them, five-lobed fig leaf. Rev. Stellate design composed of a large central globule surrounded by four smaller ones and by two rays and two three-lobed fig leaves; all within incuse square. Jameson 2122 (this coin). Balcer, SNR 1978, 18 and pl. 26, 18 (this coin). BCD Thessaly 1367 (these dies).
Estimate: 10'000 CHF
Starting price: 8'000 CHF
Price realized: 13'000 CHF
Extremely rare and an issue of tremendous fascination. Old cabinet tone, a minor
metal flaw at nine o’clock on obverse, otherwise good very fine
Ex Hess-Leu 4 April 1954, 133 and Triton XV, 2012, BCD Thessaly 809 sales. From the Jameson and BCD collections.
The rugged island of Skyros off the coast of Thessaly was never a place of great importance, although it became a base for Dolopian pirates in the early fifth century BC. The Dolopians are variously described as a Thessalian or Aitolian Greek people who were much given to maintaining themselves through plunder. It is tempting if perhaps a little speculative to suggest that the somewhat crude Archaic silver coinage attributed to Skyros might have been struck by the Dolopians of Skyros from the plunder that they took attacking unwary vessels in the Aegean Sea.
Dolopian piracy was brought to a sudden end in c. 475 BC when the Athenian fleet under Kimon rooted the Dolopians out of Skyros and replaced them with Athenian cleruchs (colonists who retained citizen rights at Athens). The Athenians claimed justification in colonizing the island as it was said to be the burial place of the great Athenian hero, Theseus. As proof of this, Kimon reportedly found his bones and carried them back for reburial in the Theseion at Athens.