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313, Lot: 179. Estimate $300.
Sold for $525. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SYRIA, Decapolis. Nysa-Scythopolis. Marcus Licinius Crassus. Proconsul, 54-53 BCE. Æ (22mm, 5.33 g, 12h). Dated CY 10 (54 BCE). Head of Gabinius or Crassus right / Dionysus standing facing, head left, holding cantharus and leaning on thyrsus; [ΓAB NY in two lines to left, L-I (date) to right, Λ in exergue]. Barkay 5; Rosenberger 3; SNG ANS –; RPC I 4827; HGC 10, 388; DCA 593. Fair, brown surfaces, large metal flaw on obverse.

There is some debate as to the identity of the figure on the obverse. Earlier issues from Nysa feature a bare male head with an accompanying legend of either “ΓA” or “ΓAB”, thus firmly identifying the portrait as that of Aulus Gabinius, governor of Syria from 57-55 BC. Gabinius was responsible for the restoration of a number of cities in the region, including Nysa, and as a result the city took the name Gabinia Nysa (as the ethnic reads on the reverse). Crassus was appointed governor of Syria following Gabinius, serving for only two years before being killed in battle against the Parthians in 53.

While RPC, HGC, and DCA identify the figure as Gabinius (Rosenberger's description simply reads: “bust r., bareheaded, undraped"), Rachel Barkay, in her specialized study of the mint, argues: “The portrait on these coins differs from that on coins of Gabinius, and it also lacks an identifying legend. Since the coin was issued during the governorship of Licinius Crassus, it seems likely it bears his portrait as well.”