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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 112, Lot: 419. Estimate $300.
Sold for $550. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THRACE, Bizya. Hadrian. AD 117-138. Æ (25mm, 10.20 g, 6h). Laureate heroic bust right, slight drapery on shoulder, strap across chest / Banquet scene: man reclining left on klinè; at his feet is seated a female figure, with right foot on stool, [extending left hand toward (or feeding?) a coiled serpent erect before a second stool]; to left, youth standing facing, head right; to right, forepart of horse left. RPC III 732 corr. (serpent-entwined staff); cf. Jurukova, Bizye 8. Brown surfaces, light roughness and pitting on reverse. VF. Rare.

This coin depicts an interesting scene that was repeated by two other emperors and was obviously of great local significance. While sometimes thought to depict the local myth of King Tereus being served the corpse of his son in revenge for his crimes against his sister-in-law, the serpent or serpent-entwined staff beneath the couch has led others to identify the central figures as Asclepius and Hygeia. A fuller understanding of this scene unfortunately eludes us.