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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 94, Lot: 933. Estimate $500.
Sold for $750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (34mm, 20.46 g, 12h). Dated RY 2 (AD 138/9). Bareheaded and draped bust right / Isis enthroned right, nursing Harpocrates (child Horus), whom she holds in her lap; small bird standing left on back of throne. Köln –; Dattari (Savio) 2643 var. (bird standing on vessel set on table to right of Isis); K&G 35.25 (same); Emmet 1585 (unlisted for year 2). Good VF, brown patina, two minor scrapes on obverse. Rare variant. Wonderful style.

From the Robert M. Harlick Collection.

Following Alexander’s conquest of Egypt, the cult of Isis spread across the Mediterranean, with its popularity reaching its zenith in the Roman period, when the “goddess of a thousand names” became one of the Mediterranean’s principal deities. It is generally assumed that the iconography of Isis nursing Harpocrates influenced Christian representations of the Madonna and Child, particularly the Virgo lactans type popular in Medieval Europe.