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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

 
Sale: Nomos 7, Lot: 183. Estimate CHF100000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2013. 
Sold For CHF85000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Severus Alexander. AD 222-235. Medallion (Bimetallic, copper and orichalcum, 37mm, 40 g 12), Rome, 224. IMP CAES M AVREL SEV ALEXANDER AVG Laureate and draped bust of Severus Alexander to right. Rev. PONTIF MAX TR P III COS P P The Amphitheatrum Flavianum (”The Colosseum”). It is shown from the front, with four stories: the first with arches, the second with arches containing statues, the third with flat-topped pedimented niches containing statues, and the fourth with square windows and circular clupea; in a bird’s eye view the circular interior can also be seen with two tiers of spectators. Outside, to left, Severus Alexander stands right sacrificing over a low altar; behind him is the Meta Sudans and a large statue of Sol. To right, a two-storied distyle building with two pediments and a male statue (Jupiter?) before. Apparently unpublished, but see Gnecchi II, p. 80, 9 (obverse) and Gnecchi III, p. 42 = Toynbee pl. 29, 7 (the reverse). See also BMC 156-157 and Cohen 468 for sestertii with the same types (but dating to 223). Unique and of great importance. With a fine and attractive green patina and a portrait in high relief. Some minor deposits, otherwise, extremely fine.


From a Swiss private collection, ex Nummorum Auctiones 8, 4 December 1997, 313.

The Flavian Amphitheater was begun in AD 72 by Vespasian and finished in 80 by Titus; it was apparently financed from the booty gained from the Jewish War. It is, of course, one of the best known buildings in the world, and was originally used for spectacles of all kinds, including gladiatorial contests, and animal hunts. The name Colosseum comes from a huge statue of Nero (a Colossus) that stood nearby (Nero’s head was removed and repeatedly replaced by the head of a reigning emperor in the guise of Sol): this statue was only pulled down and melted at some point between the 8th century and the year 1000 (it appears on the left on this coin). The building on the right is possibly the Temple of Jupiter Victor, which Severus Alexander dedicated in 224. The coin itself commemorates the rededication of the Amphtheater after repair of much of the damage caused by a severe fire in the wooden stands that was started by a lightening bolt in 217 (complete repairs only finished in 240).