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Research Coins: Printed Auction

 

Tetradrachm Production under Elagabalus
Antioch or Emesa?

Triton XXII, Lot: 616. Estimate $300.
Sold for $2250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SELEUCIS and PIERIA, Antioch. Elagabalus. AD 218-222. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 14.94 g, 12h). Struck AD 219. AVT K M A [ANTω]NЄINOC CЄB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, with right hand raised in salutation / [ΔHMAPX] ЄΞ VΠATOC TO B, eagle standing facing, head left, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; Δ-Є flanking head, star between legs. Prieur 253 (this coin illustrated); McAlee 773. Good VF, toned. Very rare.


From the Michel Prieur Collection.

Under Elagabalus, tetradrachm production became, with the exception of some Mesopotamian issues, consolidated at a single location. This mint has traditionally been identified as Antioch, but such an attribution is by no means certain, and Emesa and Laodicea have also been suggested as possibilities. Emesa, as the hometown of Elagabalus and cult center of his patron deity, is a strong candidate; many of Elagabalus tetradrachms show stylistic similarities to previous Emesene issues, and it is interesting that Emesa had already served as the principal mint for Macrinus’ tetradrachm production. McAlee also points to the current type, with its unusual left-facing bust type with hand raised, as possible evidence that Elagabalus’ tetradrachms were struck at Emesa; a very similar bust type was replicated on tetradrachms of Uranius Antoninus, whose coinage was certainly struck there.