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    Severus Alexander's Consular Procession

    Severus Alexander (AD 222-235). AV aureus (21mm, 6.27 gm, 6h).  Rome, AD 222. IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, youthful laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Alexander right / P M TR P COS PP, Alexander standing in car of slow quadriga walking left, holding olive branch and scepter. RIC 16. BMCRE 11. Cohen 225. Calic├│ 3087. Rare. Well struck, with a sensitive young portrait. A remarkable coin with a long and distinguished pedigree. NGC (photo-certificate) AU 4/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Sotheby's (Zurich, 26 October 1993), lot 111; NFA XXX (8 December 1992), lot 284; "Private Collection formed in the 1930s" (Sotheby's Zurich, 5 October 1988), lot 945; Tillman Collection (A. Hess, Zurich, 7 March 1935), lot 87; Seligmann-Montagu Collection (Feuardent, Paris, 20 April 1896), lot 554. 

    The reign of Severus Alexander presents the last relatively tranquil interlude before the mid-third century storm swept away the Pax Romana. He was born Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus Alexianus in AD 208 into a clan of Syrian nobility from the caravan city of Emesa. His maternal grand-aunt, Julia Domna, was married to the Emperor Septimius Severus, making him part of an Imperial family that was largely dominated by a clique of strong-minded and clever women, all named Julia. His grandmother Julia Maesa engineered the Severan dynasty's return to power in AD 218 by fomenting the military coup that placed Alexander's cousin Varius Avitus, known to history as Elagabalus, on the throne. Once ensconced in Rome, however, Elagabalus' behavior grew ever more erratic and outrageous. Fearing for the dynasty's future, Maesa in AD 222 engineered the murder of Elagabalus and his replacement by her other, more docile grandson, Alexander. Handsome and affable, the youth was really never more than a figurehead ruler, first for Maesa and then, after her death in AD 225/6, for his mother Julia Mamaea.

    This rare and beautiful gold aureus was struck at the outset of Alexander's reign and shows him as a smooth-faced youth of 14. The reverse seems to depict the newly minted emperor in a Triumphal quadriga; however, as he had as yet won no military victories it more likely depicts the a pompa triumphalis, the formal procession lead by the Consul before games held in the Colosseum or Circus Maximus. 

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.




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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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