World Coins

Market Analysis: Ancient coins with stories in CNG auction

Ancient coins with rich stories captivated bidders at Classical Numismatic Group’s Feature Auction 117, held May 19 to 20 live online.

Certainly one of the most exciting was a bronze drachm dated RY 8 (A.D. 144 to 145) minted in Alexandria, Egypt under Antoninus Pius. The fantastic reverse features a zodiac wheel with Aries at the top, around an inner circle with the conjoined busts left of Helios and Selene.

CNG graded it Extremely Fine, observing attractive dark green surfaces with touches of red and adding, “Our coin is certainly the finest known for this extremely rare variety, and overall one of the finest known Zodiac wheel types from Alexandria.”

It was part of a series of coins struck during Pius’s reign celebrating the astrological Great Sothic Cycle, which related to the flooding of the Nile River and the beginning of a new eon, marked by the appearance of the phoenix, a mythological bird which was reborn every 500 to 1000 years out of its own ashes.

It realized $43,200.

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