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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89001393
Triton XV, Lot: 1393. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $5000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LYDIA, Tmolus. Hadrian, with Aelius Caesar. AD 136-138. Æ (30mm, 16.46 g, 1h). AV • AΔPIANOC • CЄ • Λ • AI • KAI-CAP, confronted busts of Hadrian right, laureate and draped, and Aelius left, bareheaded and cuirassed, with slight drapery / TMOΛI-TΩN, Tmolus standing facing, head right, leaning on knotted staff and cradling the infant Dionysus in a fawn skin (nebris) tied around his neck. Unpublished in the standard references, but cf. BMC 1 for this reverse type on a coin of Faustina the Younger. EF, dark brown patina, lightly rubbed on high points. A highly interesting and possibly unique coin of wonderful style.


From Group CEM. Ex Sternberg XI (20 November 1981), lot 307; Gilbert Steinberg Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica/Spink Tasei, 16 November 1994), lot 839.

For a general introduction to the city of Tmolus and its coinage see Clive Foss, “A neighbor of Sardis: the city of Tmolus and its successors,” Classical Antiquity, vol. 1, no. 2 (Oct. 1982), pp. 178-201. While some of the city’s pseudo-autonomous issues are problematic to date, it appears that Tmolus first gained the right to coin in her name under Hadrian (Foss p. 180). Coinage with imperial portraits from his reign appears in three denominations: an incredibly rare issue of Sabina being the smallest denomination (SNG Copenhagen 635), the rare type of Antinous serving as a double (Blum p. 51, 1), and the current, seemingly unique piece valued at one and a half times the issue in the name of Sabina. The city issued coinage very sporadically, and it is doubtful that a mint was established for such a small output (and began its production so exquisitely), with nearby Sardis being a logical point of production.