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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XVII, Lot: 752. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $4500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Medallion (40mm, 33.73 g, 6h). Pergamum mint; Marcus Caerelius Attalus, strategos. AVTKPAT K MA PKOC AVP ANTΩNЄINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery; gorgoneion on breastplate / ЄΠI CTP M KAIPЄΛ ATTA/ΛOV/ ΠЄPΓAMH/NΩN around, ΠPΩTΩN • Γ • NЄ/ΩKOPΩN in exergue, the imperial entrance (adventus) into the city of Pergamum: emperor, wearing military attire, on horseback right, turning to left and raising right arm in salutation, being trailed by attendant; to right, cippus surmounted by statue of Asclepius. W. Wroth, “Asklepios and the coins of Pergamum,” NC (1882), pl. 3, 5 var. (arrangement of rev. legend); von Fritze, Pergamon pl. VII, 14; SNG France 2231; SNG von Aulock 1414 var. (smaller module, arrangement of rev. legend); BMC 321 var. (arrangement of rev. legend). EF, dark green-brown patina, smoothing and tooling. Impressive.

This medallion is part of a highly interesting series that has long fascinated numismatists. Taken as a whole, the group chronicles the major events of Caracalla’s visit to Pergamum en route to an eastern military expedition in AD 214. While this was only one stop on a trip that included imperial visits to the major cities and religious sites of Asia Minor, Pergamum’s sanctuary of Asclepius (the Asclepion) was of particular appeal to Caracalla, whose health declined precipitously in the latter years of his reign. On other medallions from the series we see either Tyche (personification of the city) or a leading magistrate presenting the emperor with a miniature cult image of Asclepius upon his arrival, Caracalla visiting the sacred grove adjacent to the Asclepion, and various scenes of sacrifices being offered to Asclepius.