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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
90060185
Sale: Nomos 6, Lot: 185. Estimate CHF450. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 May 2012. 
Sold For CHF650. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Nicaea, Bithynia. Elagabalus. 218-222. Diassarion (Bronze, 25mm, 7.11 g 12). Μ.ΑΥΡΗ.ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC.ΑΥΓ Laureate head of Elagabalus to right. Rev. ΝΙΚΑΕΩΝ Herakles standing facing, turned slightly to right, grasping the head of the Cretan bull. RG 562. Voegtli 4m. A very attractive example with a glossy green patina. Extremely fine.


From the M Collection, ex Künker 94, 27 September 2004, 1986 (but sold as Caracalla).

The subduing of the Cretan Bull was Herakles’ seventh labor. The bull had been causing destruction in Crete but Herakles was able to capture it and ship it back Athens, where they intended to sacrifice it. This was forbidden by Hera and the bull was then released, afterwards settling in Marathon and chasing runners as they raced by. The portrait on this coin actually does not look like Elagabalus at all - perhaps it is simply an adaptation of a young Caracalla used because, early in his reign, no one in Nicaea knew what Elagabalus looked like! Later, as we can see from SNG von Aulock 602-603, it is clear that the city’s die cutters had received proper portrait models to copy.