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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 73. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian. AD 117-138. Æ Diobol (24mm, 9.85 g, 11h). Dated RY 16 (AD 131/132). AVT KAI TPAI A∆PIA CЄB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Isis enthroned right, crowned with horns and disk, suckling the infant Harpokrates, who is crowned with skhent and holding lotus bud; L Iς (date) across field. Köln 1046; Dattari (Savio) 1749 (this coin); K&G 32.530; RPC III 5813/55 (this coin, illustrated on pl. 286); Emmett 1138.16; Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 87 (this coin). Near EF, attractive brown surfaces with touches of green. Another common type, but in an uncommon state of preservation.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Dr. Meyer-Coloniensis Collection (Münz Zentrum 64, 15 April 1988), lot 246, purchased from Kölner Münzkabinett, 1971; Giovanni Dattari Collection, no. 1749.

Following Alexander’s conquest of Egypt, the cult of Isis spread across the Mediterranean, with its popularity reaching its zenith in the Roman period, when the “goddess of a thousand names” became one of the Mediterranean’s principal deities. It is generally recognized that the iconography of Isis nursing Harpokrates influenced Christian representations of the Madonna and Child, particularly the Virgo lactans type popular in Medieval Europe.