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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
3680441
368, Lot: 441. Estimate $200.
Sold for $600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Caracalla. AD 198-217. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.39 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck late AD 203. Laureate and draped bust right / Dea Caelestis, head facing, riding right on lion, holding scepter and thunderbolt; below, water gushing left from rocks. RIC IV 130a var. (Dea Caelestis facing right); BMCRE 280 var. (same); RSC 97 var. (same). Near EF, toned, a few light marks. Well struck for the issue.


The INDVLGENTIA type of Septimius is one of the most picturesque and also one of the most common (in silver) of the period. Most people do not realize, however, that there are four distinct reverse types: 1) Dea Caelestis, looking to front, riding a lion leaping to the right, holding a thunderbolt and scepter; 2) Dea Caelestis, looking right, riding a lion leaping to the right, holding a thunderbolt and scepter; 3) Dea Caelestis, looking to front, riding a lion leaping to the right, holding a drum and scepter; 4) Dea Caelestis, looking to front, riding a lion leaping to the right, holding a drum, no scepter. The first two varieties are the most common. The third variety is very rare. The last variety is extremely rare. Similar types were also struck in the name of Caracalla in AD 203. Interestingly, the direction of the deity's head appears to have a chronological significance. An examination of the dated bronze and gold reveals that the examples with the facing deity were struck late in 203, while those with the right facing deity were struck early in 204.