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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 63, Lot: 1435. Estimate $400. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 May 2003. 
Sold For $505. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CARACALLA. 198-217 AD. AR Denarius (3.18 gm). Struck 206 AD. Laureate head right / Ship in Circus between four quadrigae; below, ostrich, lion, tigers, stag, bull, and bear. RIC IV 157; RSC 118. Toned VF, light porosity. Rare. ($400)

The games of 206 repeat the festivities of 202, which celebrated the return of the imperial family from their successful eastern campaigns. This complex and crowded design recognizes most of the forms of entertainment at the games; the naumachia, a mock sea battle which involved flooding the Circus Maximus, the chariot races at the Hippodrome, and combat between wild beasts. In RIC the avian creature at the far left is called a cock, but on one of our coins it is clearly a long-necked, long-legged bird, either an ostrich or a crane. Both birds would typically appear in a farcical combat with African pygmies.