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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 181. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Faustina Junior. Augusta, AD 147-175. Æ Diobol (23mm, 6.71 g, 12h). Dated RY 3 of Marcus Aurelius (AD 162/163). ΦAYCTINA CЄBACTH, draped bust right, her hair tied up in a bun / Agathodaimon serpent, wearing the skhent crown, on horseback galloping right; L Γ (date) below. Köln –; Dattari (Savio) 9387; K&G –; Emmett 2313.3 (R5, citing the Dattari coin); Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 181 (this coin). Good VF, dark brown patina with traces of green. Extremely rare, only two specimens known. Just as the hemidrachms, diobols of Faustina Junior are also extremely rare, with only two low grade specimens of any reverse type appearing at auction since 2000 (CNG 91, lot 792 and CNG E-Sale 291, lot 306). CNG 91, lot 792 (2012) is the same type as this lot, but graded only Fine.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Heidelberger Münzhandlung Herbert Grün 20, Part I (22 May 1997), lot 395.

Emmett lists this diobol type for two regnal years for Faustina Junior – years 3 and 4. For year 3, he cites the Dattari coin (no. 9387), and for year 4 he cites Milne 2504a, which is in the Ashmolean Museum, but the date is not visible, and Milne was guessing that it is year 4. The type also exists with Agathodaimon on horseback left, Dattari 3637, which is not photographed in the 1901 catalogue of Dattari’s collection, nor the Dattari-Savio plates, and therefore can not be verified. 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.