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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Second and Finest Known

Sale: CNG 78, Lot: 1362. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 May 2008. 
Sold For $7000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

PISIDIA, Lysinia. Septimius Severus. AD 193-211. Æ 36mm (25.17 g, 6h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Zeus enthroned left, holding phiale and scepter, supported by two anguipede males, each holding a cornucopia. Von Aulock, Pisidiens -; SNG France -; Boston MFA Acc. No. 1994.274 (same dies). Good VF, black-green patina with orange overtones in the devices, small spots of green deposits on reverse. Extremely rare, only the second one known, and nicer than the Boston specimen.

The reverse of this coin recalls the second major conflict of Zeus’ rise to power. After he had defeated the Titans in the Titantomachy and apportioned their former relatives to his fellow Olympians, he was compelled to resolve a conflict with the Giants, offspring of Gaia and Cronus. Known as the Gigantomachy, these chthonic half-man, half-serpent creatures attempted to wrestle power from the Olympians by casting them out of Olympus. To accomplish this, the Giants attempted to reach Olympus by heaping up one mountain range on top of the other. From above, Zeus and the other Olympians defended themselves by hurling their weapons. In the end, however, it was the assistance of Hercules, that won the day. With the final defeat of the Giants, the rule of Zeus was no longer challenged.