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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 88, Lot: 729. Estimate $300.
Sold for $1465. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THRACE, Aenus. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ (29mm, 12.94 g, 1h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, holding spear and shield (decorated with gorgoneion?) / Castor standing left, holding horse by bridle. AMNG II 406 (same rev. die as illustration); Mouchmov 3881; Varbanov 27 corr. (Castor holding spear). VF, green and olive patina, areas of roughness and pitting on reverse. Extremely rare.

From Group CEM.

In Greek mythology, Castor, along with his twin brother Pollux, were the sons of Zeus and Leda. When Castor was killed, Pollux begged that he be taken instead. In return for his noble sacrifice, Zeus granted Pollux immortality, a gift which was later given also to Castor. Now known as the Dioscuri, or "sons of Zeus," these young gods became widely popular as protectors in a moment of crisis and, under the empire, they (Castor, in particular) symbolized the heir (or heirs) to the throne. At Lake Regillus in 496 BC, as the infant Roman Republic was struggling for existence against Tarquinius Superbus, the former king, and his allies, legend says two able, but unknown horsemen helped the losing Roman troops to victory. Immediately afterwards these same young men were seen in the Roman Forum watering their horses. Identified as the Dioscuri a temple was built on the spot to honor them and they became Rome's protectors.