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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 753. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $2000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LYDIA, Blaundus. Caracalla. 198-217 AD. Æ 32mm (17.06 gm). Claudius Alexander, magistrate. AV K M AV ANTWNEIN, laureate and cuirassed (with gorgoneion) bust right / BLAVNDEWN MAK EPI TI KL ALEXANDROV AP ATO B, Herakles and the Nemean lion: Herakles crouching right, lion's skin over left arm, seizing by the mane a lion seated right with forepaw raised, and planting left knee in lion's back, swinging his club with his raised right hand. VF, double struck, black patina with earthen highlights. ($2000)

While the episode of Heracles strangling the Nemean Lion is more familiar, the scene on this coin represents Heracles’ slaying of the Lion of Cithaeron, which had been ravaging the herds of his father Amphitryon and Thespius, the local king. At this time, Heracles tore a wild olive tree from the soil of Mount Helicon and fashioned it into a club with which he slew the lion. After killing it, Heracles removed its pelt and draped it over himself, an act that is often confused with Heracles’ act of slaying the Nemean Lion. He first removed its skin by using the lion’s own razor-sharp claws, and then wore the pelt, which was impervious to most any assault.