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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 169. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Marcus Aurelius. As Caesar, AD 139-161. Æ Drachm (32mm, 19.73 g, 12h). Dated RY 12 of Antoninus Pius (AD 148/149). [M AVPH]ΛIC KAICAP, bareheaded and draped bust right / Isis enthroned right, crowned with horns and disk, suckling the infant Harpokrates, who is crowned with skhent; all within distyle temple, pediment decorated with horns and disk; ΔωΔЄ (date) to left, [KATOV to right, L in exergue]. Köln 1914 var. (obv. legend); Dattari (Savio) 9066 (this coin); K&G 37.21 var. (same); Emmett 1888.12 (R2); Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 170 (this coin). Good VF, dark reddish brown and green patina. Rare.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group 81 (20 May 2009), lot 879; Bayerische Vereinsbank Münzschätze FPL 11 (April 1976), lot 159; Giovanni Dattari Collection, no. 9066.

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.