Cistophori in Provincia Asia
|Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 674. Estimate $750.
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008.
Sold For $1800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
27 BC-AD 14. AR Cistophorus (11.85 g, 12h). Pergamum mint. Struck 27-26 BC. IMP • CAESAR, bare head right; lituus before / AVGVSTVS, capricorn right, head left, bearing cornucopia on back; all within laurel wreath. RIC I 488; Sutherland Group IIIb
, - (unlisted dies); RSC 16a; RPC I 2208; BMCRE 698 = BMCRR East 287; BN 950-1. Good VF, toned, a small flaw on cheek.
The production of cistophori (triple-denarii) from the mints of Provincia Asia was on an impressive scale during the early years of Augustus' reign, attesting to the rapid recovery of economic wealth in the area following decades of pillage and exploitation during the civil wars. This attractive type is attributed by Sutherland to Pergamum, and tentatively dated to the years 27-26 BC. According to Suetonius, Augustus had been born while the moon was in the sign of Capricorn. Seeing this as a sign of his great destiny, Augustus associated the symbol closely with himself by striking it on coins and incorporating it into numerous works of art, so that it became a standard part of the imperial iconography. In order to legitimize their own claims, his successors periodically employed the capricorn imagery on their own coinage.