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First time lost - second time won - Caracalla, Emesa tetradrachm


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Yesterday I mentioned that for me one of the most satisfying purchases are the ones where I lose a coin in an auction, I regret it but months or even years after a different example appears and I win it. It doesn't need to be an expensive/rare coin. Usually I intentionally forget about coins I lose in auctions, the main reason being that auctions are unpredictable. Let's say I am the underbidder. Can anyone be sure if a new bid would have been successful? Did anybody have a large prebid? was the winner with the hand on the mouse being prepared to bid again? 

This is why I get annoyed for losing coins I wanted, but don't waste time thinking too much about them. 

The coin type I want to show was a small exception as I really liked it. It was an auction in February and it was an absolute mess. 9 bids. 0 wins. Although, looking again at the list, my bids were enough to win a few coins. Again, auctions are unpredictable. This was the one that annoyed me the most (not my coin)


Many collectors would say nothing is very special about this coin. But what I enjoyed the most was the bored/angry look (perhaps it's my sick imagination but Caracalla seems to say "can we finish this photo session already? I have people to torture and my schedule is tight"). Plus the depiction of Shamash - an interesting detail, characteristic for Emesa. Present on other mints too, but as far as I know this particular depiction is only in this series of coins. 

I had the coin on my watch list, and I prepared the price interval for "good price", the interval for "normal price". There was a bidding war with another collector, who won the coin eventually, and my last bid was no longer a "good price" according to my standards. But it became a major target for the future. And I knew I will get one sooner or later. 

Latest auction - a similar type appeared and this time I won it without much noise (there was a prebid I had to overtake, but still in the "good price" zone). 


25 mm, 12,22 g.
Syria, Seleucis and Pieria, Emesa. Caracalla 198-217. AR tetradrachm. 215-217.
AΥ•T K M ANTΩNEINOC CE•B•, laureate bust right / ΔΗΜΑΡX ΕΞ VΠΑΤOC TO Δ, eagle standing facing, head left, with wreath in beak; H under beak; radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Shamash left between legs.
Prieur 983.

Original photo


Of course, it is clear that this example is inferior to the one I lost. What I wanted was the angry/bored portrait and a clear Shamash. Both checked. The general aspect of the coin is good enough. And the actual final price of the coin was 1/3 comparing to the first example (but who knows how much the winner was willing to bid, as he/she was quite determined). So in my opinion a better deal. 

Everybody knows about Caracalla. Who knows if he was really the monster we read about? Or was it just propaganda? We will never know. 

A few words about Emesa. 

The first mentions of this city are in the Bible, where king Solomon of Israel conquered Hamath-zobah - very likely Emesa. 

In 1274 BC, a very large chariot battle took place, between the forces of the Egypti under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River near Homs (present name for Emesa). 

Until Pompey conquered  the Seleucid state of Syria to the Roman Republic in 64 BC, the Emesene dynasty were confirmed in their rule as client kings of the Romans for aiding their troops in various wars. Emesa helped Julius Caesar in the siege of Alexandria in 48 BC. Also allied with Octavian in the Civil War (although Alexander, the king Iamblichus I's brother usurped the throne, killed the king and tried to support Mark Antony). Later Octavian sentenced Alexander to death for treason and gave the throne to  Iamblichus II. 

Next event - Emesa sent archers to help the Roman empire in the siege of Jerusalem (70 CE). 

But soon the kingdom was annexed to the Roman Empire and the Emesene dynasty lost the throne. Emesa became a pure Greek-like city-state during the time of Antoninus Pius. Coins were minted starting this period. The maximum level of importance was in the Severan dynasty times - Julia Domna was born in Emesa and her ancestors were priest kings from the old dynasty. Caracalla and later Elagabal promoted Emesa to the rank of colonia.

Although it would have been interesting, apparently Shamash is not identical to the sun god worshiped by Elagabal. 

Let's see 

- coins where Caracalla's portrait proves he was a jolly, patient and benevolent man 
- Eastern tetradrachms
- coins that you got from the 2nd, 3rd or 15th attempt and you consider it was worth the wait. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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Caracalla (198 - 217 A.D.)

AR Tetradrachm
Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria
O: AYT K M A ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate head right.
R: ∆HMAPX EΞ YΠATOC TO ∆, facing eagle, head left holding wreath in beak, star between legs.
Prieur 1179



Caracalla (198 - 217 A.D.)

AR Tetradrachm
Mesopotamia, Carrhae
O: AVT·K·M·A ANTONЄINOC ·C-EB · ·, laureate head of Caracalla right; two pellets beneath rear truncation.
R: ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞ ΥΠΑΤΟ Δ, eagle standing facing on bucranium, dot to each side, wings spread, head right, wreath in beak.
Prieur 820, Bellinger 160, SGI 2701

Ex. Agora Auctions, lot 184, Sale 81carbird.jpg.a1379ee873885741599ce5a2851a852a.jpg

Caracalla (198 - 217 A.D.)

AR Tetradrachm
Beroea, Cyrrhestica, Syria
O: AVT K M AV ANTΩNЄINOC CЄB, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Eagle standing facing, head and tail left, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; between legs, bird facing between legs.
Prieur 884


Caracalla (198 - 217 A.D.)

AR Tetradrachm
O: AVT KAI ANTωNINOC CЄ, Laureate bust right.
R: ΔHMAPX ЄΞ VΠATOC TO Δ, Eagle, with head left, wreath in beak and wings spread, standing facing on club right; murex shell between legs. Struck 213/17AD
Prieur 1547


Caracalla (198 - 217 A.D.)

AR Tetradrachm
O: AVT KAI ANTΩNЄINOC CЄB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
R: ΔHMAPX ЄΞ VΠATOC TO Δ, eagle standing facing, head right, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; rectangle between legs. Struck 215/17AD
Prieur 876 Bellinger 172


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Good buy @ambr0zie

My angry caracalla tet, from Hierapolis (Lion) rather than Emesa (Shamash)


Caracalla (04/02/211-08/04/217) - Tetradrachme de billon de l'atelier de Hierapolis, c. 215-217
ΑΥΤ•Κ•Μ•Α•ΑΝΤΩΝЄΙΝΟC CЄΒ, Buste lauré de Caracalla à droite, vu de dos
ΔΗΜΑΡΧ Є•Ξ•ΥΠΑΤΟC ΤΟ Δ, Aigle de face les ailes déployées, la tête à droite, tenant dans son bec une couronne. Entre ses pattes, un lion avançant à droite.
25 mm - 14,17 gr - 2h
Ref : Prieur # 926, McAlee #674v, Sear #2649 var, 


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