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A Mountain on a Molehill Coin

David Atherton

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I think there is some numismatic irony at play here - the vast Mount Argaeus being depicted on such a tiny coin! I wonder if the ancients thought anything of it.


AR Hemidrachm, 1.49g
Caesarea (Cappadocia) mint, undated
Obv: AVTOKP KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBA; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: Mount Argaeus; on summit, radiate figure standing, l., globe in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
RPC 1658 (1 spec.).
Ex Rex Numismatics, Auction 1, 15 July 2023, lot 320.

An extremely rare hemidrachm struck at Caesarea Cappadocia featuring Mount Argaeus on the reverse. Only one specimen was cited from the RPC 'core collections' (compared to 19 of the Nike variety) when the volume was published in 1999. Since that time, five other examples have surfaced. Cappadocian hemidrachms were exclusively produced in 'local style' at Caesarea rather than at Rome.


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Thanks for watching!

Edited by David Atherton
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  • David Atherton changed the title to A Mountain on a Molehill Coin

I love this little Hemidrachm from Cappadocia 🙂 



Titus Flavius Vespasianus as Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus; Hemidrachm of the Roman Imperial Period 69/79 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 15mm; Weight: 1.50g; Mint: Caesarea Eusebia, Cappadocia; Reference: RPC II 1659, Metcalf 17, Sydenham Caesarea 94; Provenance: Superior Galleries Numismatics New York; Obverse: Laureate head of Vespasian, right. The Inscription reads: ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΟΥƐϹΠΑϹΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒΑ for Autokratoros Kaisaros Vespasianos Sebastos (Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus); Reverse: Nike advancing right, wreath in right hand, palm in left hand.



Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; Hemidrachm of the Roman Imperial Period 58/68 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 14mm; Weight: 1.56g; Mint: Caesarea, Cappadocia; Reference: RPC I. 3646 (Specimens 8, 4 in the core collections), RIC I (second edition) Nero 618, BMC 411; Obverse: Head of Nero, laureate, right. The Inscription reads: NERO CLAVD DIVI CLAVD F CAESAR AVG GERMANI for Nero Claudius Divi Claudii Filius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Nero Claudius, son of the divine Claudius, Caesar, Augustus, victor over the Germans); Reverse: Nike (Victory), naked to waist, standing right with right foot on globe, inscribing round shield resting on her right knee.


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