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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 923. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $6250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

HADRIAN. 117-138 AD. AV Aureus (7.36 gm). Struck circa 119-125 AD. IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, laureate head right / P M TR P COS III, statue of Hercules standing facing, leaning on club and holding apples, within distyle temple set on raised platform and surmounted by ornate canopy; water-god reclining left and pointing. RIC II 156; Strack 87d; BMCRE pg. 253, 98 note; Calicó 1320 (this coin); Cohen 1083. Choice VF, a few minor marks. Extremely rare. [See color enlargement on plate 17] ($5000)

Other varieties of this aureus type include the inscription HERC GADIT, demonstrating this this aureus refers to the shrine of Hercules locacted in Gades (mod. Cadíz). The figure of Hercules is sometimes flanked by two female figures, who may represent the Hesperides, the mythical people to whom Hercules went in fulfilment of his penultimate labor to recover the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. Gades was not only an ancient and wealthy port city, and the ancestral home of Hadrian's mother, but it was also the edge of the known world. Beyond lay the Atlantic Ocean, possibly represented by the water-god at the shrine's base. Thus, Hadrian proclaims not only his Spanish origin, but also his kinship with Hercules through his own labors of travelling the whole of the empire.