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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Iconic Nilus Riding Hippopotamus

Triton XXI, Lot: 110. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $5000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (34mm, 22.28 g, 12h). Dated RY 2 (AD 138/139). AVT [K T AIΛ] A∆P ANTωNINOC [ЄVCЄB], bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Nilus seated left on hippopotamus walking left, holding two stalks of grain with his right hand and a cornucopia with his left; ЄT O VC B (date) around. Köln 1308 (same dies); Dattari (Savio) 8649 (this coin); K&G 35.18; Emmett 1626.2; Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 110 (this coin). Good VF, dark brown patina with touches of green and red. Very rare. Only one in CoinArchives (CNG 91, lot 756), and this coin is superior, especially the reverse.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Dr. Meyer-Coloniensis Collection (Münz Zentrum 64, 15 April 1988), lot 267 (where this coin is incorrectly identified as being Dattari 2774); Münzen und Medaillen AG 46 (28 April 1972), lot 194; Giovanni Dattari Collection, no. 8649x.

One of the classic rarities and iconic types from the Alexandrian mint. Although identified as being no. 2774 from the Dattari collection, which was not plated in his 1901 catalogue, after comparing it to the Dattari-Savio plates it is most likely Dattari 8649. The pencil rubbing of the obverse is quite vague, but the reverse is clear enough to make the identification.