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Research Coins: Feature Auction


The Reaper

Triton XXI, Lot: 163. Estimate $7500.
Sold for $8500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (35mm, 28.45 g, 12h). Dated RY 5 (AD 141/142). [AYT K T A]IΛ A∆P ANTωNINO[C CЄB ЄYC], laureate head right / Bearded man (Reaper) standing right, wearing short kirtle (tunic), pileos, and goat’s skin(?) over his left shoulder, with his right hand he cuts three grain stalks with a sickle, holding them with his left; [L] Є to left. Köln 1417 var. (reaper not wearing pileos, goat’s skin, and slightly hunched over); Dattari (Savio) 2989 (this coin – reverse illustrated on pl. XXVI); K&G 35.165 (this coin illustrated); Emmett 1643.5; Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 136 (this coin). Good VF, attractive dark brown patina with touches of green. Extremely rare and exceptional.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Kerry K. Wetterstrom Collection (Classical Numismatic Auctions XIII, 4 December 1990), lot 221; Dr. Meyer-Coloniensis Colllection (Münz Zentrum 64, 15 April 1988), lot 273; Giovanni Dattari Collection, no. 2989.

There are two varieties for this type – one depicting the reaper wearing a pileos and goat’s skin over his shoulder, and the other without these features and slightly hunched over as he cuts the grain ears. While both varieties are rare (we have handled two examples of the second type: CNG 76 [2007], lot 1147 and CNG Inventory no. 253505), the first type is definitely the rarer of the two.

This type and the so-called “Ploughman” type (see CNG 85, lot 714) are usually included in the Alexandrian mythological and pictorial coin series. Although they are not mythological in derivation, they may represent their respective constellations or seasons. Perhaps the common “Nilus reclining” types represent the inundation of the Nile, the most important “season” for the ancient Egyptians. This type is only known for Pius’ regnal year 5.