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The day of the budget Provincial tetradrachms


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Last weekend I was in an auction and, against my expectations, I managed to win a respectable number of interesting coins. All budget indeed and nothing extremely spectacular, but all of them were on my wish list and on some of them the price was a pleasant surprise. 

But one of the highlights for me was that I managed to add not one, not two, but three provincial tetradrachms - this was unexpected.

Here they are in the order I bought them in


25 mm, 13,22 g.
Syria, Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch. Nero 54-68 AD. AR Tetradrachm. Struck 56-57 AD.
ΝΕΡΩ[ΝΟΣ ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΥΙ ΚΑΙΣΑΡΟΣ ΣΕΒ], head of Nero with oak wreath, right / ΑΓΡΙΠΠΕΙΝΗΣ ΣΕΒΑΣΤΗΣ, Γ (regnal date) above ΕΡ (civic date), draped bust of Agrippina II, right.
McAlee 253; RPC I 4175; Prieur 74.

I wanted a coin from the early reign of Nero but the imperial coins are prohibitive and I haven't seen a provincial coin to fit my tastes and budget. This coin is worn (but a little better in hand - not sure what was wrong with my camera today as the colors were very wrong and it took me a lot of attempts to take decent pics). A coin with young Nero and his dearest mom is a large bonus. 

Although the coin is modest, I was expecting a bigger price. It wasn't the case and I got it for much better than expected. 


29 mm, 11,57 g.
Syria, Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch. Billon tetradrachm. Gordian III 238-244 AD. Struck 242-244.
ΑΥΤΟΚ Κ Μ ΑΝΤ ΓΟΡΔΙΑΝΟϹ ϹΕΒ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian III, right, seen from rear / ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞ ΥΠΑ ΤΟ Β, eagle standing facing, head left, with wreath in beak; tail to left; between eagle's legs, ram running right with head turned back; crescent above ram's head.
Bland 1991b, 24; Prieur 302; McAlee 874; RPC VII.2, 3520.

Nothing extremely spectacular about this Gordian III tetradrachm. But I couldn't let it pass because I wanted a coin with this reverse (ram under the eagle). Gordian's portrait is pleasant, so why not. 


24 mm, 11,01 g.
Egypt, Alexandria. Claudius 41-54. AR tetradrachm. Dated RY 4 – 43-44 AD.
ΤΙ ΚΛΑΥΔΙ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙ ΑΥΤΟΚ(Ρ), laureate head of Claudius, right, L Δ (date) below chin / [MEΣΣAΛINA] KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina, veiled, standing left, leaning on column, holding two children in outstretched right hand, grain ears with left.
Köln 81; Dattari (Savio) 125; K&G 12.35; RPC I 5145; Emmett 74.4.

This coin was attributed as Nero. But I quickly realized it's Claudius. And the reverse is very interesting (well, more or less on my example) 

A much better specimen reverse:


Although RPC doesn't specify this, the two children in Messalina's hand should be Britannicus and Claudia Octavia. 

Of course I would have preferred Messalina's name to be readable and, especially, the two children on the flan, but the price would have been very, very different. In the end, not a top 10 coin but not junk either, especially since it was cheap. 

Let's see freshly added provincial tetradrachms from your collections. 

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Neat additions!  Here's a relatively budget one, but I gave it as a gift.  Mine is much worse.


Nero, with Divus Claudius. 54-68 AD
AR tetradrachm, Dated year 3 of Nero and 105 of Caesarian era (56/7 AD)
Head of Nero right, wearing oak wreath / Laureate head of Divus Claudius right; in right field, Γ above EP (dates)
14.51 g, 24-25 mm, silver, small scratch on obverse
References: RPC I 4174; Prieur 73

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