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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 39. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $2000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Domitian. AD 81-96. Æ Diobol (25mm, 10.86 g, 12h). Dated RY 10 (AD 90/91). AVT KAICAP ΔΟ ΜΙΤ CEB ΓΕΡΜ, laureate head right / Agathodaimon serpent, wearing the skhent crown, on horseback galloping left; L I (date) below. Köln –; Dattari (Savio) –; K&G 24.109; RPC II 2585; SNG Copenhagen 214; Emmett 277.10 (R5); Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 39 (this coin). Good VF, attractive light brown patina. Extremely rare variety. Exceptional portrait.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex West Coast/Lloyd Beauchaine Collection (Classical Numismatic Group 41, 19 March 1997), lot 1110; Classical Numismatic Review Vol. XVI, No. 1 (January 1991), lot 316; Numismatic Fine Arts Fall Mail Bid Sale (18 October 1990), lot 2365.

This is a rare type in general, but with Agathodaimon riding the horse to the left, instead of the usual horse to the right, it is extremely rare. The authors of RPC cite only three specimens, all in museum collections: American Numismatic Society, Berlin, and Copenhagen. As to the meaning of the reverse type, the horse represents the changing of the seasons, whereas the serpent represents regeneration or the rebirth of the crops. All of Egyptian life was dependent on this cycle.