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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 167. Estimate CHF900. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF720. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Tomis, Lower Moesia. Caracalla. 198-217. Tetrassarion (Bronze, 26mm, 12.54 g 1), c. 198-205. ΑΥ.Κ.Μ.ΑΥ.ΑΝΤΩΝΕΙΝΟC CΕ Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla to right. Rev. ΜΗΤΡΟΠ ΠΟΝΤ ΤΟΜΕΩΝ Draped female figure with bow over her shoulder (Artemis?) walking left, her head turned back to right, leading a car drawn by a bull to left, in which rides a bearded figure (Dionysos?, Pan?) seated to right; above, Δ. AMNG 2882. Rare. With a dark green patina and a most interesting reverse. Minor scrape on the obverse, otherwise, about extremely fine.

From the M Collection, ex Gorny & Mosch 141, 10 October 2005, 199.

The reverse of this coin is particularly intriguing. It would be reasonable to assume that a maenad was leading a car with Dionysos in it, but that would be unlikely since Dionysos virtually never is in a car drawn by a bull (by centaurs, donkeys, panthers yes, but not bulls). Also, the possibility that the female figure is holding a bow makes her identification as Artemis more plausible (yet, since she is not wearing the hunting dress Artemis normally wears, this identification is also suspect). Perhaps this is a local myth about which we know nothing?