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Research Coins: Feature Auction


“The Holy Game”

Triton XVI, Lot: 694. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $2800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

BITHYNIA, Nicaea. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ (34mm, 27.92 g, 1h). Struck AD 198. AVT • K • M • AVPH • ANTΩNINOC • AVΓOV, laureate and cuirassed bust right / CЄOVHPIA ΦIΛAΔЄΛΦЄIA TA MЄΓAΛA/ NIKAЄΩN, agonistic urn containing two palms; IЄPOC AΓΩN in central band. Unpublished in the standard references, but cf. BMC 87 for a similar type for Geta as Caesar. EF, dark green patina. Important games issue.

Ex Triton VII (13 January 2004), lot 746.

This unrecorded coin provides a further expansion of the games-related legends of the coins of Nicaea. “τα μεγαλα” is otherwise unattested, and in conjunction with the full legend can be read as “Severeia Philadelpheia in respect to the great ceremonies of the Nicaeans,” with the central band inscription reading “The Holy Game.” The youthful portrait of Caracalla as Augustus, combined with the related type of Geta as Caesar, seems to indicate that Nicaea sponsored games to celebrate the joint elevation of Caracalla to Augustus and Geta to Caesar in AD 198.