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Research Coins: Feature Auction


An Overstruck Alexandrian Reduced Drachm

Triton XXI, Lot: 242. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $650. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Aurelian, with Vaballathus. AD 270-275. Æ Reduced Drachm (25mm, 8.41 g, 12h). Dated RY 1 of Aurelian & RY 4 of Vaballathus (AD 270/271). AVPHΛIAN[OC KAI AΘH]NO∆ω[POC], laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Aurelian right vis-à-vis laureate, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust of Vaballathus left / L A above L Δ (dates) in two lines within wreath with central medallion. Köln 3057; Dattari (Savio) 5429-30; K&G 106.70; Emmett 3916 (R2); Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 245 (this coin). VF, dark brown patina. A very rare denomination for this late period. Overstruck on an uncertain, eastern mint (probably somewhere in the Levant), provincial bronze, with parts of the undertype visible on both sides.

From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Paul-Francis Jacquier 40 (16 October 2015), lot 418; Dr. Busso Peus Nachf. 410 (31 October 2013), lot 771.

A fascinating coin that has been overstruck on another provincial bronze. As this was either a new denomination being introduced, or the bronze drachm being reintroduced on a reduced standard, it is possible that the Alexandrian mint used other provincial bronzes as the flans for this rare issue, which would help explain the inconsistency of the diameters and weights of surviving examples. A study of extant examples might help determine if other specimens exhibit any signs of an undertype. In any case, an overstruck Alexandrian coin of any type or period is basically never encountered.