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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Extremely Rare Stone of Emesa Denarius

Sale: CNG 76, Lot: 1548. Estimate $3000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 12 September 2007. 
Sold For $3200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Elagabalus. AD 218-222. AR Denarius (2.07 g, 6h). Antioch mint. Struck AD 219-220. Laureate and draped bust right / Eagle, wings spread and head left, standing half-right on thunderbolt before Stone of Emesa, holding wreath in beak; five stars above. RIC IV 176; Thirion 336; RSC 26. Near EF, porous. Extremely rare.

At the age of fourteen, Varius Avitus Bassianus (Elagabalus) inherited the office of high priest of the sun-god Elagabalus at Emesa in Syria. The cult of his sun god was represented by a sacred stone, and in AD 219 when he moved from Emesa to Rome, he took the stone, probably a meteorite, with him. This coin type commemorates this event. During his reign, Elagabalus devoted his efforts to the promotion of his cult god, building a lavish temple to house the stone.