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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1706. Estimate $1500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CORINTHIA, Corinth. Lucius Verus. 161-169 AD. Æ 26mm (10.79 gm). IMP C AVR VERVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right / CLI COR, Melikertes-Palaimon riding on dolphin left, within wreath. Mionnet II pg. 185, 280; Imhoof-Blumer and P. Gardner, "Numismatic Commentary on Pausanias," JHS (1885), pg. 11, pl. B, XIV; Cornell 95 (this coin). EF, green patina. Very rare. ($1500)

From the David Simpson Collection. Ex Brand Collection, pt. 7 (Sotheby's, 25 October 1984), lot 349.

The Corinthians credited their king Sisyphos with founding of the Isthmian Games at the funeral of the boy-hero Melikertes-Palaimon at Isthmia. Adjacent to the early sanctuary of Poseidon was the Palamaion, an extensive cult area with sacrificial pits and a circular temple of Hadrianic date, which was transformed during the joint reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. According to Pausanias (I, 70-72 and III, 4-16), within the temple was a statue of Melikertes-Palaimon riding on a dolphin.

Athamas, the son of Aiolos and king of Orchomenos in Boeotia, was driven mad by Hera because he had sheltered Dionysos. After he killed his son Learchos, he pursued Ino into the sea with their son Melikertes, where both were transformed into marine deities. Ino became Leukothea, and Melikertes changed to Palaimon and a dolphin carried his body ashore on the Sardonic Gulf.