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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
650795
Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 795. Estimate $4000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $6400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CILICIA, Tarsus. Hadrian, with Sabina. 117-138 AD. AR Tetradrachm (13.87 gm). AUT KAI QE TRA PAR UI QE NER UI TRAI ADRIANOC CE PP, radiate and draped bust of Hadrian right / CABEINA CEBACTH ADRI TARC MHTROPOLEWC AV, diademed and draped bust of Sabina right, set on crescent. SNG Levante 993 (this coin); SNG France 1413; BMC Lycaonia pg. 188, 153; SNG Copenhagen -; SNG von Aulock 5985; Prieur 771. Superb EF, light iridescent toning. [See color enlargement on plate 12] ($4000)

Ex Sternberg XIV (24-25 May 1984), lot 327.

Most of the references do not distinguish the silver issues of Hadrian from Tarsus, but it is clear there are two distinct denominations. The heavier, at about 14 gm, is the traditional tetradrachm. The lighter, at slightly under 10 gm, is most likely a tridrachm. The details of this coin raise certain questions on the subject of denominations. The portrait of Hadrian is radiate, while that of his spouse is set on a crescent. The radiate bust as traditionally been seen as a symbol of a double denomination, for example, the dupondius versus the as, while the crescent served the same purpose for female portraits, as on the antoninianus. So, does this mean that this coin was intended as a double denomination, perhaps of the coin type of lot 797 below? If this coin is a tetradrachm, that would make the other a didrachm. However, if the smaller value is a tridrachm, which seems a closer fit to the denomination scheme (a drachm of circa 4.3 gm), then the larger denomination may be a hexadrachm, or perhaps the earlier tetradrachm re-tariffed.