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Gordian III drachm, my first Mt. Argaeus


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Very nice! I've always found the Mt. Argaeus coins to be quite interesting, although I have only one. I especially like the little deer bounding in front of a rock on mine.

Lucius Verus AR Didrachm 161-166 AD, Caesarea, Cappadocia. Obv. Bare head right, ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΟΥΗΡΟϹ ϹƐΒΑϹΤΟϹ / Rev. Mt. Argaeus (or cult image of same), surmounted by statue of Helios standing three-quarters left with long scepter in left hand and globe in right; flames to left and right on sides of mountain; animal [deer?] bounding left at bottom far left of mountain in front of large rock; tree in front of large rock at bottom far right; smaller rock dotted with trees[?] at bottom center; ΥΠΑ-ΤΟϹ Β [= COS II].  RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Online Vol. IV.3 7027 (temp.) [rev. var.] (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/7027); Sydenham 352 [rev. var.] [Sydenham, E., The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (London 1933)]; Metcalf, Caesarea 131a [rev. var.] [Metcalf, W.E., The Silver Coinage of Cappadocia, Vespasian-Commodus, ANSNNM (American Numismatic Society, Numismatic Notes & Monographs) No. 166 (New York 1996)]; Metcalf Hoard 694-718 & PL 39-40 [rev. var.] [see id.]; SNG von Aulock 6438 [rev. var.] [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 2: Caria, Lydia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia (Berlin 1962)]. 20 mm., 6.70 g., 6 h.


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Marcus Aurelius


Marcus Aurelius
AR didrachm
Obv.: AYTOKP ANTωNEINOC CEB, laureate head of Marcus Aurelius right
Rev.: ΥΠΑTOC Γ, Mt. Argaeus, star above
Ar, 19,7mm, 6.6g
Ref.: Metcalf 130b. Sydenham 328

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I don't have any silver with Mt. Argaeus, but I do have this bronze of Severus Alexander. It's as common as delirium tremens on skid row, but I don't mind.

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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What I like about Caesarea provincials is that the engravers were very skilled. The portraits are very similar to Rome mints and this is an exception rather than a rule for Provincial coins. 

I only have 1 coin with Mount Argaeus, a Pius bronze. 


20 mm, 7,12 g.
Cappadocia, Caesarea. Antoninus Pius 138-161 AD. Ӕ. Laureate head of Antoninus Pius, r. / [ΚΑΙϹΑΡƐwΝ Τ Π ΑΡΓΑΙ] ƐΤ ΚΑ, mount Argaeus with tall conical top.
RPC IV 6838.

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Marcus Antonius Gordianus III; Drachm of the Roman Imperial Period 241/242 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 20.4mm; Weight: 4.39g; Mint: Caesarea, Cappadocia; Reference: RPC VII.2 3372; Rare: Specimens 6 (0 in the core collections); Obverse: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian III, right, seen from rear The Inscription reads: ΑΥ Κ Μ ΑΝΤ ΓΟΡΔΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐ for Autokrator Kaisar Marcos Antonios Gordianos Sebastos (Imperator Caesar Marcus Antonius Gordianus Augustus); Reverse: View of Mount Argaeus; to left, pellet. The Inscription reads: ΜΗΤΡΟ ΚΑΙϹ(Α) Β Ν(Ɛ), ƐΤ Ɛ for Metropoleon Kaisareia, Beta Neokoroi, Etous Epsilon (Metropolitan Caesarea, honor to have 2 temple for the imperial cult, Year 5 Dec. 241 - Dec. 242 AD).
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Cool new coin! My only Mount Argaeus was a gift from @Severus Alexander


CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea: Hadrian (117-138) AR Drachm, issued 128-138. 2.94g, 17mm. Obv: Laureate head right Rev: ΥΠATOC Γ Π-ATHΡ ΠAT, Mount Argaeus surmounted by a statue of Helios, holding globe and sceptre. RPC III, 3119, S 263a, Metcalf Conspectus 106, Ganschow 184b Rare! (only 2 specimens in RPC)

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Nice coins in this post - congrats on your first silver Cappadocian, @expat  For some reason, I've gotten quite a few Cappadocian coins this year, both AE and silver.  My most recent is a countermarked example - not the usual helios head, but what might be a legionary mark.  When I started researching it, I was surprised to see how many coins from Cappadocia received military countermarks.  Including this one, maybe.  My speculations below (LX... sorta visible?):


Antoninus Pius  Æ 15 Caesarea, Cappadocia ƐΤΒ = year 2 (139-140 A.D.) ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ[ΑϹΤΟϹ], bare head right /  ΚΑΙϹΑ[ΡƐ ΤΩ ΠΡ ΑΡΓΑΙΩ | ƐΤΒ in exergue, Mt. Argaeus  with wreath on summit RPC IV.3 7997 (temporary); Ganschow 221a. (3.00 grams / 15 x 14 mm) eBay Oct. 2023 

Countermark: Roman numerals and/or letters in 6 x 2 mm rectangle obverse on neck of bust. Because the countermark is weakly struck at the bottom half, it is difficult to interpret.  There are several legionary type cm's in RPC/Howgego GIC for Cappadocia; see RPC 736-741a for all LX... types.  Some likely possibilities are listed below:  

FVLM RPC CM 866; GIC 736 Legion XII Fulminata

L·XII RPC CM 868; GIC 737 i Legion XI Fulminata

LXIIF RPC CM 870; GIC 738 Legion XI Fulminata

LXV RPC CM 873; GIC 740 i Legion XV Apollinaris

[L?] XVI RPC CM 875; GIC 741 Legion XV Apollinaris

Note: Other possibilities in RPC but some are too large.

Here's a Gordian III with the common Helios head - it features wonky workmanship (in my opinion) and die-matches all 3 RPC examples (which are also countermarked).  That's kind of weird, I think:


Gordian III                        Æ 24 Caesarea, Cappadocia Δ = Year 4 (243 A.D.) ΑΥ Κ Μ ΑΝΤ ΓΟ[ΡΔ]ΙΑΝΟϹ, radiate head right / ΜΗΤΡ[ΟΠ ΚΑΙϹ]Α Β Ν | ƐΝΤΙ | ƐΤ Δ, Mount Argaeus set on inscribed (ƐΝΤΙ) altar RPC VII.2 3350 / Countermark Howgego 12i; RPC CM 129. (10.00 grams / 24 mm) eBay July 2023 Ganschow 884b corr.; Bland 1996, 120 corr. Countermark:  Radiate head of Helios right, in circular punch, 5 mm., in obverse right field. RPC Countermark 129; Howgego GIC 12i (242 pcs.).  "Note: The countermark was most likely applied in 243/244 since there are no countermarked coins from year seven of the reign of Gordian III." FORVM.  Note:  All 3 RPC examples are die-matches; all 3 countermarked...

Here's a more normal looking Gordian III, also with the countermark:



Here's a Lucius Verus AE I bought by mistake - thinking it was a silver drachm.  I had trouble attributing it - there are ambiguous examples and notes in RPC.  Mine looks pretty good, even compared to the RPC examples, and it doesn't look cast, or (a modern) fake or whatever.  If anybody has any corrections, I'd be much obliged:


Lucius Verus     Æ Didrachm?  Caesarea, Cappadocia (c. 161-169 A.D.) ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΟΥΗΡΟϹ  ϹƐΒΑϹΤΟϹ, bare head (with traces of drapery?) right / ΥΠΑΤΟϹ Β, Mt. Argaeus with trees; on summit, Helios standing left on summit. RPC IV.3 8008? (See notes). (5.93 grams / 20 x 19 mm) eBay June 2023 (Germ.) 

Notes:  This appears to be a Æ didrachm; the Æ issues have the  date in the exergue.  However RPC IV.3 8008 (temp.) is an Æ denomination, with traces of drapery, only 2 examples noted:

1 P: 461A, authenticity doubtful: cast, on obverse, traces of drapery uncertain

2 P: 462B, authenticity doubtful: cast

Notes (continued):  The silver didrachm version of this is RPC IV.3 7027 (35 specimens) Metcalf 131a, S 352. Bare head, Mt. Argaeus with Helios at summit, same legends.

Here're two Septimius Severus silver drachmae I recently got and a didrachm of Antoninus Pius - is there a hoard of stuff coming out of Turkey?: 



Whew.  That's a lot of Cappadocians in one year (so far).  This isn't even all of them.  Again, not sure why so many are showing up in my price range.  




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I have one that would pair nicely with the OP, minted for Tranquillina and ex @Steve's collection :


Tranquillina, drachm - Cappadocia, Caesarea- Eusebia, AD 241-244 - Dated Regnal year 4 of Gordian III (AD 240/1)
ϹΑΒΙΝΙΑ ΤΡΑΝΚΥΛΛΙΝΑ ΑΥ Draped bust right, wearing stephane
ΜΗΤΡΟ ΚΑΙϹΑ Β ΝƐ, Mount Argaeus ЄT Δ (date) in exergue
2.72 grams - 18 mm - 5h
Ref : RPC vol VII.2 # 3326/10, Bland, Last # 58, Sydenham, Caesarea Supp # 617a
Ex CNG e-auction 354, #352
Ex Steve P. collection


And I also parted some years ago with a Plautilla drachm that ended in @curtislclay's collection after I had it sold to a fellow collector from France :


Plautilla, drachm - Cappadocia, Caesarea - Eusebia, AD 205.
ΦΟΥΛΟΥΙ ΠΛΑΥ ΑΥ, draped bust right
ΜΗΤΡΟ ΚΑΙCΑ, Agalma of Mt. Argaeus with star. In ex., CΤΙΓ : regnal year 13 of Sept. Severus, 205 AD
2.69 g, 19mm
Ref : Sydenham -; SNG Copenhagen -; Sear 2775v.
Sydenham-Malloy, p. 152, no. 496b
cf. Lanz auction # 117/956
thanks to Curtis Clay for additionnal information



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I always liked the different types of reverses that show Mt. Argaeus.

You have the ones where a statue is on a mountain, ones where an agalma of the mountain is on an altar, ones where the agalma is not on an altar, and other variations. Which begs the question - what was the cult icon actually like?

Was there actually a colossal statue on the peak of the mountain? (probably not)

Was there a relatively small, probably marble mountain sculpture with a probably bronze miniature figure on top, on an altar in the open? (possible)

Was the above held within a temple?

I wonder if there is any real scholarship on this topic. 

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