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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 752. Estimate $750. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $650. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Lucius Verus. 117-138 AD. Æ Drachm (22.61 gm). Dated year 6 (165/6 AD). Laureate bust right, slight drapery on shoulder / Semasia on galloping horse left, holding palm; date across field. Köln -; cf. Dattari 3780/81; Milne 2546 var. (bust type); Emmett 2433(6). VF, dark brown patina. Rare. ($750)

Shmeion means "signal", as shmeia is a military standard that signals the location of an army. Semasia is the herald that brings news of a military triumph, in this case the news that the Parthians had been routed by the Roman army, losing Seleukeia and Ctesiphon in the wake of the Armenian War. This is the only appearance of Semasia on a coin, and one may wonder if it is a subtle slap at Lucius Verus, nominal commander of Roman forces campaigning in Persia, who spent all his time at Antioch. Someone would have had to tell him what his army was doing!