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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 63, Lot: 1003. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 May 2003. 
Sold For $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ACHAEA, Cephallenia. C Proculeius, equites. Circa 30-28 BC. Æ 22mm (6.87 gm). Terminal bust of Jupiter right; monogram behind / Skate. RPC I 1359; FITA pl. I, 22. Good VF, black patina. One of the finest examples of this very unusual marine animal type. ($2000)

This depiction of the skate of ray (genus Raia) is unique in numismatics and its use as a type on this coin is shrouded in speculation. What is known is that C. Proculeius was a compatriot of Vedius Pollio, equites, proconsul and governor of Asia for Octavian. It is postulated that Proculeius was assigned the task of demobilizing Antony's forces after Actium. The skate, with its poisonous sting in its tail, may symbolize the naval battle of Actium and the crushing defeat of Antony's fleet. Grant in FITA, pg. 67, alludes to the Volscian gens Raia, and offers the suggestion that Proculeius had a subordinate of that family that would have struck this coin for him at Cephallenia. At this point we are engaged in circular reasoning, saying the coin type suggests the prescence of a family member who authorized the coin type.