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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Venus in Taurus

CNG 91, Lot: 762. Estimate $300.
Sold for $950. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (33mm, 29.58 g, 12h). Zodiac series . Dated RY 8 (AD 144/5). Laureate head right / Venus in Taurus (night house): Diademed and draped bust of Aphrodite left; star before her; bull butting left below; L H (date) in exergue. Köln 1492; Dattari (Savio) 2960; K&G 35.280. Near VF, brown patina, areas of red and green, some roughness and minor marks.

From the Greenpoint Collection.

Alexandria saw an immense output of coinage during the eighth year of Antoninus Pius. The Zodiac drachms, mythological types, and a host of issues for the nomes appeared that year. One explanation for this activity centers on the celebration of the renewal of the Great Sothic cycle, the point when the star Sothis (Sirius) rises on the same point on the horizon as the sun. This cycle of 1461 years began again in AD 139, and apparently prompted a renewal in the ancient Egyptian religion and its connections within the Greco-Roman Pantheon.