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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Saturn in Aquarius

CNG 88, Lot: 1095. Estimate $1500.
Sold for $7500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (34mm, 21.45 g, 12h). Dated RY 8 (144/5). Laureate head right / Saturn in Aquarius (day house): Veiled bust of Cronus left, disk atop head; star of eight rays to left, falx to right; below, youth swimming left, looking back over shoulder, wearing chlamys and holding an inverted amphora with both hands; LH (date) below. Köln 1506; Dattari (Savio) 2979; K&G 35.274. Good VF, brown patina, traces of red, green and earthen deposits, minor roughness and edge split. Rare and popular Zodiac Drachm.

From Group CEM.

Alexandria saw an immense output of coinage during the eighth year of Antoninus Pius. The Zodiac drachms, mythological types, and a host of issues for the nomes appeared that year. One explanation for this activity centers on the celebration of the renewal of the Great Sothic cycle, the point when the star Sothis (Sirius) rises on the same point on the horizon as the sun. This cycle of 1461 years began again in AD 139, and apparently prompted a renewal in the ancient Egyptian religion, and its connections within the Greco-Roman Pantheon.