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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Extremely Rare Pseudo-Autonomous Tetradrachm

Triton XXII, Lot: 504. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CILICIA, Aegeae. Pseudo-autonomous issue. temp. Caracalla, AD 198-217. AR Tetradrachm (27mm, 12.65 g, 6h). Dated CY 263 (AD 216/7). AIΓЄAIΩN ATΩNЄINO[Y] (sic) ΠOΛЄΩC (“the A[n]tonine city of Aegeae”), bust of Asclepius right, wearing taenia and with slight drapery; to right, serpent-entwined staff / MAKЄΔONI ЄYΓЄN ΠICTHC ΘЄOΦIΛO (“of noble and Macedonian origin, pious and god loving”), Asclepius standing facing, head left, within hexastyle temple; Γ-Ξ/C (date) across field; in exergue, goat kneeling right. Prieur –; F. Haymann, “Caracalla in Aigeai: ein neues Tetradrachmon,” JNG 60 (2010), Fig. 4 var. (obv. legend reads ...ANTΩNЄINOY...) and 5 (obv. legend indistinct). Near EF, toned, even roughness. Extremely rare.

As patron deity of Aegeae, which was renowned for its doctors, the appearance of Asclepius is not surprising, but the type must also allude to Caracalla’s well being. The emperor’s health had declined precipitously in the final years of his reign. On his way to campaign in the east in AD 214, he visited the great shrine of Asclepius at Pergamum in hopes of finding a cure. This visit was commemorated with a remarkable series of medallions issued at Pergamum, and around the same time Asclepius was honored on Caracalla’s imperial coinage. The exact circumstances which led to this rare tetradrachm being struck at Aegeae are unknown. It is possible that Caracalla visited the important port town on his journey east.

This is perhaps only the fourth known example of the type. The others are: 1) Haymann p. 153, 4 = New York Sale XL, lot 1114 = New York Sale XIV, lot 167; 2) Haymann p. 155, 5 = ANS 1944.10053024; 3) Auctiones GmBH E-43, lot 34.