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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 1969. Estimate $250. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $325. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CARACALLA. 198-217 AD. AR Denarius (2.87 gm). Struck January-April 217 AD. Laureate head right / VIC PART P M TR P XX COS IIII P P, Caracalla standing left, holding globe and sceptre, being crowned by Victory who stands behind him; small captive at Caracalla's feet. RIC IV 299e; BMCRE 200 note; RSC 655. Toned, near EF. Rare type. ($250)

From the Marc Melcher Collection.

In early 216 AD, Caracalla assembled a substantial force (at least 8 legions) along the Syrian frontier, for what would prove to be Caracalla's final triumph. The Parthian empire had been engaged in a civil war since 213, with Vologases V in control of half the empire and Artabanus V in control of the other half. Caracalla took advantage of this division and sided with Artabanus, even proposing marriage with Artabanus' daughter to cement the alliance. The plan went awry though, and Caracalla marched against an unprepared Artabanus. After ravaging the countryside east of the Tigris unhindered, Caracalla returned to Edessa to spend the winter. It is this "victory" that is celebrated on this coin. Caracalla no doubt would also have assumed the title Parthicus and celebrated a 4th acclamation of imperator had his life not been suddenly cut short on April 8, 217 AD.