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Severus Alexander as Caesar from Caesarea Cappadocia


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This one came in my June order:


AE26mm 12.85g orichalcum unit (as?), minted at Caesarea, ca. March 222(?)
[ΑΥ] Κ Μ ΑΥΡΗΛI ΑΛƐΞΑΝΔ; bare-headed and draped bust of Severus Alexander, r., seen from rear; countermark
ΜΗΤΡΟΠ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ; ƐΤ Ɛ; agalma of Mount Argaeus on altar inscribed with regnal year
RPC VI 6728, Ganschow 733e-f

This coin with the unlikely obverse legend is likely minted around the changing of the regime from Elagabal to Alexander in March 222. It gives Alexander the titulature of 'autokrator' (emperor) instead of 'kaisar' (Caesar), while the effigy is bareheaded, specific to the issues minted for him as Caesar and the reverse marks the fifth year (ƐΤ Ɛ) of Elagabal's reign. This can mean that an obverse die was hastily modified for the new political reality, before changing the bust type or the reverses minted for Elagabal. 

The countermark is unrecorded in Howgego, but known for the coinage of Severus Alexander as Caesar, see here for analogy.


It seems that I have steadily been building a small collection of Alexander as Caesar provincial issues.

Edited by seth77
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10 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

How odd! It makes me wonder if there was a short time before the assassination of Elagabalus where Sev Alex was raised to the rank of junior Augustus…

Either that or some degree of uncertainty regarding who the current emperor is.

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  • 1 month later...

A new more regular Alexander as Caesar from Caesarea Cappadocia, this time with the full Caesar epigraphy of Κ Μ ΑΥΡΗΛΙΟϹ ΑΛƐΞΑΝΔΡΟϹ:


Without the countermark to block his face, this one has a rather pleasing effigy of the young Alexander and a nice thick and shiny patina.

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This is the only Severus Alexander I have from this mint and here he has the titulature of an emperor.

Severus Alexander, 222-235 CE.
Roman Provincial AE 25.0 mm, 10.37 g.
Cappadocia, Caesarea, 222/3 CE.
Obv: ΑV Κ Μ ΑVΡ ϹЄΟΥ ΑΛЄΞΑΝΔΡ, laureate head, right; uncertain c/m behind.
Rev: ΜΗΤΡΟΠ ΚΑΙϹΑΡΙ, agalma of Mount Argaeus surmounted by star, atop altar inscribed ЄTA (= year 1).
Refs: RPC VI 6735; Sydenham 537-38; BMC 298; SNG von Aulock 6510.

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  • 8 months later...
Posted (edited)

Here is a clear rendition of the obverse legend (although worn) with the title of Autokrator very visible:


Α Κ Μ ΑΥΡΗΛΙ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔ -- and the radiate Helios in the countermark very well preserved. This coinage with this legend can only be after early January 222.


And two bonuses:

1. another more regular Alexander as Caesar, earlier emission K Μ ΑΥΡΗΛIOC ΑΛƐΞΑΝΔPOC, obverse die-match with my coin #2 above:



2. An Elagabal with an interesting and scarce military bust, struck post the wedding of 219 with Julia Paula



All three have the same GIC12i counter mark, radiate head of Helios r. inside circular punch mark, likely applied under Gordian III or later.

Edited by seth77
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On 6/16/2023 at 4:21 PM, seth77 said:

This can mean that an obverse die was hastily modified for the new political reality, before changing the bust type or the reverses minted for Elagabal. 

This is probably the most likely explanation. The bust on that die is well-done. Why waste it? Just call him emperor in the legend and add the headgear on the next die.

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