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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
10300800

Roman Game Counter

CNG 103, Lot: 800. Estimate $750.
Sold for $2300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Anonymous gaming tessera. Circa 45 BC-AD 68. Bone Tessera (27mm, 3.26 g, 12h). Made in Alexandria. Diademed head of Apollo right / VIII/AΠOλλωN/H in three lines across field. Cf. E. Alföldi-Rosenbaum, “Alexandriaca: Studies on Roman Game Counters III” in Chiron 6 (1976), 90-98; cf. Kestner-Museum, Tesseren 146–152. For other examples of Roman bone tesserae, see: Triton X, lot 585; CNG 78, lot 1762; CNG 72, lot 1441. Good VF, warm light tan patina.


A wide variety of these tesserae are known, many found in the vicinity of Alexandria. They feature portraits (some resembling emperors from Augustus to Nero or their wives, mothers, sisters, or daughters), Egyptian architectural types and other symbols, with names inscribed on the reverse accompanied by numbers from 1 to 15 in Latin and Greek. They may have been used to regulate the distribution of government largess or as theater tickets.