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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Attractive Bone Tessera

Sale: CNG 78, Lot: 1762. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 May 2008. 
Sold For $2100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anonymous issues. Time of Domitian to Antoninus Pius, AD 81-161. Bone Tessera (31mm, 4.52 g, 11h). Made in Alexandria. Bare-headed female bust left / XII/AMAPAKI/N/IB in four lines across fields. Kestner-Museum, Tesseren -; cf. L. Sachero, I Contorniati di Roma Imperiale : Divagazioni sulle monete (Torino: EDA, con la collaborazione del San Paolo, 1987), p. 104-105 = Thomas Ollive Mabbot Collection (Part II, H. Schulman, 27 October 1969), lot 5304; cf. Triton X, lot 585; cf. CNG 72, lot 1441. VF, mottled light brown and gray surfaces, traces of earthen deposits.

A wide variety of these tesserae are known, many found in the vicinity of Alexandria. They feature portraits (some resembling emperors from Augustus to Nero or their wives, mothers, sisters, or daughters), Egyptian architectural types and other symbols, with names inscribed on the reverse accompanied by numbers from 1 to 15 in Latin and Greek. They may have been used to regulate the distribution of government largess or as theater tickets.