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Research Coins: Printed Auction

Sale: CNG 70, Lot: 633. Estimate $500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2005. 
Sold For $950. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

[Roman Provincial] MYSIA, Pergamum. Caracalla. 198-217 AD. Æ Medallion (44mm, 43.27 g, 6h). Julius Anthemus, magistrate. Laureate and cuirassed bust right; 2 c/m: animal suckling child in oval and wreath in circle / Caracalla on horseback advancing right, holding lance, crowned by Nike; before him a trophy with two bound Parthian prisoners. For coin: SNG France 2225; SNG Copenhagen -; for c/m: Howgego 318 and 480. VF, jade green patina, lightly smoothed. ($500)

Caracalla visited the shrine of Asklepios at Pergamon on his way to the Parthian wars in 214-215 AD. Tormented by nightmares and various psycho-physical ailments brought on by his brutal behavior toward his family and subjects, Caracalla hoped for surcease from the healing god. His visit brought forth a torrent of huge medallic bronzes from the Pergamene mint, most showing the emperor presenting himself to Asklepios, but this medallion is a straightforward preview of his coming victories in Persia. The meaning of the animal suckling child countermark is not certain, perhaps a reference to Amaltheia and Zeus (who was supposed to have been born on the acropolis at Pergamum), a deer suckling Telephus, or simply a wolf and child. Its appearance with the second, wreath in circle, countermark is known on other issues of Pergamum. This second countermark, found on coins of Caracalla and Elagabalus, may have some connection with games held under the latter.