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Research Coins: Feature Auction


“Venus in Taurus” – Ex Steger Collection

Triton XIX, Lot: 380. Estimate $500.
Sold for $1100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (34mm, 25.96 g, 12h). Zodiac Series. Dated RY 8 (AD 144/5). AVT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTωNЄINOC CЄB ЄVC, 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; Emmett 1450.8; Kellner p. 111, pl. 7, Abb. 22 (this coin). VF, brown patina with touches of green and red, a few pits and scratches, some roughness. Rare.

From the A.K. Collection. Ex Frank Sternberg AG Inventory, Zurich, 1983 (reportedly ex August Voirol Collection); Dr. Hans Steger Collection (Münzhandlung Basel 6, 18 March 1936), lot 697.

Alexandria saw an immense output of coinage during the eighth year of Antoninus Pius’s reign. 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 early in the reign of Pius in AD 139, and apparently prompted a renewal in the ancient Egyptian religion, while the coin types also stressed the connections to the Greco-Roman Pantheon.