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Research Coins: Printed Auction


“Of Noble and Macedonian Origin”

Triton XX, Lot: 458. Estimate $7500.
Sold for $9500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CILICIA, Aegeae. Pseudo-autonomous issue. temp. Caracalla, AD 198-217. AR Tetradrachm (29mm, 13.31 g, 6h). Dated CY 262 (AD 215/6). AIΓЄAIΩN ANTΩNЄINOY ΠO[Λ]ЄΩC, bust of Asclepius right, wearing taenia and with slight drapery; serpent-entwined staff before / MAKЄΔONIKHC ЄYΓЄNOYC, Asclepius standing facing, head left, leaning on serpent-entwined staff; to left, Telesphorus standing facing; to right, goat kneeling right, head left; BΞ–C (date) across central field. H. Bloesch, “Caracalla in Aigeai,” Congresso internazionale di numismatica Roma 1961, vol. 2: Atti (Rome: 1965), pp. 307-8, pl. 23, 1 var. (date written out in words rather than expressed in numerals); Prieur 723 = SNG Levante 1741 (this coin); SNG France –; Kastner 4, lot 165 var. (date arranged differently in field). EF, toned. Extremely rare and possibly the only example in private hands.

From the Dr. Patrick H. C. Tan Collection. Ex Edoardo Levante Collection; Numismatic Fine Arts XVI (2 December 1985), lot 496.

A highly interesting issue and one of only three examples known to Prieur at the time of his corpus (the specimen published by Bloesch is in the Winterthur Museum, the Kastner coin is now in the British Museum). As patron deity of Aegeae, which was renowned for its doctors, the appearance of Asclepius is not surprising, but the type must also allude to Caracalla’s well being. The emperor’s health had declined precipitously in the final years of his reign. On his way to campaign in the east in AD 214, he visited the great shrine of Asclepius at Pergamum in hopes of finding a cure. This visit was commemorated with a remarkable series of medallions issued at Pergamum, and around the same time Asclepius was honored on Caracalla’s imperial coinage. The exact circumstances which led to this rare and artistic tetradrachm being struck at Aegeae are unknown. It is possible that Caracalla visited the important port town on his journey east.

The legends can be translated as “The Antonine city of Aegeae / of noble and Macedonian origin.”