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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XXI, Lot: 185. Estimate $4000.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Lucius Verus. AD 161-169. Æ Drachm (34mm, 28.99 g, 12h). Dated RY 9 (AD 168/169). Λ AYΡΗΛΙΟC OVHPΟC 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(?); all within distyle temple, pediment decorated with solar disk and uraei; L ЄNA TOV (date) to either side of temple. Köln –; Dattari (Savio) 3800; K&G 39.200 corr. (obv. bust type); Emmett 2396.9 (R5 – citing Dattari 3800); Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 185 (this coin). Good VF, dark brown patina with touches of green and red. Extremely rare and exceptional, with none appearing at auction since 2000.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Dr. Meyer-Coloniensis Collection (Münz Zentrum 64, 15 April 1988), lot 348; Münzen und Medaillen AG 46 (28 April 1972), lot 218; Walter Niggeler Collection (Part 2, Bank Leu/Münzen und Medaillen, 21 October 1966), lot 767 (CNG’s annotated copy of this sale lists M&M as the buyer).

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.