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    Mint State Fine Style Hadrian Travel Series Aureus

    Hadrian (AD 117-138). AV aureus (20mm, 7.27 gm, 6h). NGC (photo-certificate) MS 5/5 - 3/5, Fine Style. Rome, AD 134-138. HADRIANVS-AVG COS III P P, bareheaded, draped bust of Hadrian left, seen from behind / No legend, Nilus reclining right, half draped, cornucopia cradled in left arm, reed in right hand and resting arm on rocks over which water flows; hippopotamus walking right with mouth open toward two reeds in background, crocodile advancing left amid waves on river embankment below. RIC II 314. Calicó 1165. Kent-Himer 284 (this coin). A truly splendid example of this highly attractive travel issue, the reverse die of extraordinary artistry.

    Ex Dix Noonan Webb, Auction A11 (27 September 2011), lot 2021 (realized approximately $144,450); ESR Collection (Hess-Leu 23, 15 October 1963), lot 173.

    Hadrian's career of traveling the length and breadth of the Roman Empire culminated in an extended visit to Egypt in AD 130-131, accompanied by a vast entourage that included his wife Sabina and his young protégé and lover, the handsome Bithynian Antinous. During a barge trip up the Nile, Antinous fell overboard and drowned, plunging the emperor into extravagant grief. The incident is shrouded in mystery, with some gossips suggesting that the youth had sacrificed himself in some strange ritual to restore Hadrian's failing health. Whatever the manner of death, Hadrian ordained that Antinous be deified and worshipped as a god, not by the Roman Senate or people, but by the Greek denizens of the Empire who held a more sympathetic view of their emperor's "forbidden love." Hadrian finally returned from his travels in circa AD 132 and retired to his lavishly decorated villa at Tivoli, where Egypt and the Nile were given special prominence. His famous Travel Series of coins was struck during his final years, perhaps as a personal remembrance of his imperial wanderings. This remarkable aureus boasts an astonishing reverse depiction of the river god Nilus surrounded by the fauna of Egypt, rendered in the highest artistry of the age. Unusually, the reverse bears no legend, leaving the engraver's work to speak for itself.

    This coin has been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. It may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. E-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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