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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 70, Lot: 998. Estimate $3000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2005. 
Sold For $3750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

HADRIAN. 117-138 AD. AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm (11.12 g, 12h). Nysa ad Maeandrum mint. Struck after 128 AD. Bare head right / Hades dragging away protesting Persephone in quadriga right; overturned basket of flowers below; above, Eros flying right, holding wedding torch. RIC II -; Metcalf, Cistophori, type 43 var. (no Eros); BMCRE -; RSC -. VF. Overstruck on a cistophorus of Augustus, Sutherland Group III. Unique variety with Eros. ($3000)

Hades' abduction of Persephone is the reason for Demeter's long search in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and the episode was an important element in the Mysteries at Eleusis. As Kore, Persephone represented the unmarried maiden who must cross over to the status of the married woman and mother. Her seizure by Hades represented the physical embodiment of this transition. An overturned basket of flowers, sometimes included in the depiction (see also lot 996), reinforces this motif. This unique example depicts a winged figure holding the wedding torch, or taeda, above the horses. This is Hymenaeus, one of the erotes and the personification of the Hymenaea, or wedding song sung outside the bridal chamber. Metcalf's attribution to this mint is based on the regional association of this reverse type.