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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 177. Estimate CHF2250. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF8500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Tarsus, Cilicia. Caracalla. 198-217. Tetrassarion (Bronze, 34mm, 15.98 g 1), c. 214-217. ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙ Μ ΑΥΡ CΕΥΗΡΟC ΑΝΤΩΝΕΙΝΟC CΕΒ Π Π Laureate head of Caracalla to left, seen from behind. Rev. [ΑΝΤΩΝΙΑΝΗC] CΕΥἭ ΑΔΡ ΜΗΤ ΤΑΡCΟΥ Δ /ΕΚ Herakles, nude but for his lionskin over his left shoulder, striding left, with his club held in his upraised right hand, preparing to strike the many-headed Hydra before him to left. SNG Levante 1051 = Voegtli 2q (same dies). Ziegler 694 (same dies). Very rare. The finest example of this mythological type known. Attractive olive green patina. Some slight surface roughness, otherwise, extremely fine.

From the M Collection, ex LHS 95, 25 October 2005, 832.

The destruction of the Lernean Hydra was Herakles’ second labor. All but one of the Hydra’s heads could re-grow if cut off so the only way to kill them was to burn the stumps as soon as the head was chopped off. This was done by Iolaos, the faithful companion of Herakles. The last head was immortal but when that was chopped off Herakles buried it. The three extra letters on the reverse of this coin are the abbreviations for “honored with extraordinary gifts and with the session of the provincial assembly.” It is worth noting that most of the coin’s users would have known what these abbreviations meant.