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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 724. Estimate $6000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $5300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SYRIA, Seleucis and Pieria. Emisa. Uranius Antoninus. 253-254 AD. Billon Tetradrachm (11.68 gm). Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, hand raised before / Eagle standing facing, head turned right with wreath in beak; S C to either side of wings, EMICA in exergue. Baldus, Nachtrage 3, 9-10; Prieur 1041. Toned, good VF. Extremely rare; only three other specimens published with this bust type. ($6000)

The usurper Uranius Antoninus made his headquarters at the city of Emisa in Syria. Emisa was the cult center for the worship of the god Elagabal, the local manifestation of the sun-god Helios. One of the symbols associated with the sun-god is the gesture of the right hand raised before the face. This gesture, which later took on Christian connotations, seems to appear for the first time on this imperial portrait of Uranius Antoninus, an early synthesis of the divine and the imperial personas of the emperor.