The ancient city of Pherai, modern Velestino, was one of the most important cities in Thessaly. The site of the city had been occupied since Neolithic times (ca. 3000 B.C.) and Pherai thrived until the beginning of Imperial Rome’s power (ca. 1st Century A.D.). Stylistically, the portrait of Hekate, the Goddess of Witchcraft, is based upon the coins minted in Larissa depicting the nymph of the same name. These coins, among the first minted in Thessaly, were in turn influenced by the portraits of the nymph Arethusa from the coins of Syracuse. This type, introduced by the famous die-engraver Kimon in the last decade of the fifth century, was imitated by numerous mints in Greece and even in Persia and became the stereotypical type for nymphs, as useful in Thessaly as in Sicily. Thessaly was a country of fertile plains which provided excellent grazing ground for its cattle and horses. The region was particularly famous for it’s well-bred horse and fierce cavalry, depicted on the reverse of this coin.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of long forgotten empires. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine- made currencies. This magnificent coin is a memorial to the ancient glories of Pherai and greater Thessaly passed down from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation. - (C.2068)