THRACE, Perinthus. Severus Alexander.
|Sale: CNG 67, Lot: 1088. Estimate $1000.
Closing Date: Wednesday, 22 September 2004.
Sold For $2300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
222-235 AD. Æ 41mm Medaillon (29.53 gm). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / "The Zodiac Wheel" -- A zodiac wheel starting with Pisces at the top and continuing clockwise with Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius; in the center of the wheel is Zeus enthroned facing, holding a patera and sceptre, eagle at his feet, above to the left and right is Helios in a quadriga and Selene in a biga of bulls (each with the symbol of the other), below are the reclining figures of Gaia (Earth) and Thalassa (Sea). Varbanov 4093 (same dies); BMC Thrace pg. 157, 58 var. (Severus wearing cuirass ornamented with gorgoneion and aegis); SNG Copenhagen -; Hunterian I pg. 403, 24. VF, dark green patina, deep flan crack. Extremely rare. ($1000)
In Treasures of Ancient Coinage: From the Private Collections of American Numismatic Society Members
, Catharine C. Lorber catalogued a coin of Maximinus I Thrax from Anchialus in Thrace with a very similar reverse type to the present coin (see pg. 121, no. 110). Lorber summarized the type as "...a symbolic map of the cosmos. Zeus, chief of the gods, is the central figure... Surrounding this scene is a broad band containing the twelve signs of the zodiac. The entire design reflects the common belief of third-century Romans that their lives were shaped by higher powers. This schema and variations on it were employed by numerous mints for different emperors from the mid-second through the mid-third centuries." The placement of Pisces (20 February-20 March) at the top of the wheel may relate to the date of Alexander' accession, 13 March 222.