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Research Coins: Printed Auction

 
Triton XX, Lot: 443. Estimate $500.
Sold for $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THRACE, Bizya. Hadrian. AD 117-138. Æ (25mm, 10.20 g, 6h). AVTO TPAIAN ΑΔPIAN–OC KAICPA (sic) CЄB, laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder, thin strip of drapery on near shoulder / [B]IZYHNΩN, banquet scene: man reclining left on klinè; at his feet is seated a female figure, with right foot on stool, extending left hand toward (or feeding?) a coiled serpent erect before a second stool; to left, youth standing facing, head right; to right, forepart of horse left,. Jurukova 8 var.; RPC III 732.7 corr. (same dies; drapery on near shoulder and serpent-entwined staff not noted). Good VF, brown surfaces. A particularly detailed example of this rare and intriguing issue.


This coin depicts an interesting scene that was repeated by two other emperors and was obviously of great local significance. While sometimes thought to depict the local myth of King Tereus being served the corpse of his son in revenge for his crimes against his sister-in-law, the serpent or serpent-entwined staff beneath the couch has led others to identify the central figures as Asclepius and Hygeia. A fuller understanding of this scene unfortunately eludes us.