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Research Coins: The Coin Shop

 
735790
735790. Sold For $395

CARACALLA. 198-217 AD. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.22 gm). Struck 207 AD. ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right / PONTIF TR P X COS II, emperor standing facing, head right, holding spear and parazonium; two river gods reclining to right and left, holding reeds, seated female (Britannia?) at feet of emperor. RIC IV 96; BMCRE 555; RSC 441. Toned VF. Scarce.

From the Marc Melcher Collection.

In 206-207 AD, Caracalla was in Britain, overseeing campaigns against the northern tribes and restoring the crumbling fortifications of Hadrian's Wall. This coin most likely marks these events. The descriptions of the reverse in both RIC and BMCRE are inaccurate; the two outer figures are clearly river gods-bearded, half-draped men holding river reeds. They probably represent the rivers Eden and Tyne, which Hadrian's Wall follows for much of its length. The seated female figure under the protection of the emperor must logically be Britannia.