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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Unpublished Dynastic Issue

CNG 103, Lot: 602. Estimate $750.
Sold for $1700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MESOPOTAMIA, Edessa. Elagabalus, with Divus Septimius Severus and Divus Caracalla. AD 218-222. AR Tetradrachm (25mm, 9.95 g, 6h). AVT K M A CЄV A-NTωNЄINO[C] CЄB, laureate bust right, slight drapery; • behind / ΘЄω CЄV ΠAΠ • ΘЄω M ANTωNЄINωC O Π, confronted busts of Divus Septimius and Caracalla, each bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed, above eagle standing left, head right, with wings spread; shrine with pediment between legs. Unpublished. Near VF, toned, deep flan crack possibly caused by two chisel blows on the reverse.

A highly unusual piece, probably part of the series of “atypical coins” (to use Prieur’s term) with Mesopotamian mintmarks. The bust on the obverse certainly recalls portraits of Caracalla, but the beginning of the reverse legend clearly reads “to the defied Severus, grandfather.” Thus we might assume that this coin was struck under Elagabalus and can perhaps be associated with another unique dynastic issue linking the Syrian prince to his “grandfather” Septimius Severus (Prieur 1730). Furthermore, if this cataloger’s reading of the reverse legend is correct, the final “Π” would seem to identify Caracalla as Elagabalus’ father, making the Caracallan-style portrait on the obverse particularly appropriate.