A darkly toned tetradrachm of Mark Antony and Cleopatra
Lot 1657
Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Tetradrachm (Silver, 26 mm, 14.17 g, 12 h), Antiochia on the Orontes or a mint further to the South, circa 36 BC. [BACIΛIC]CA KΛЄOΠATPA ΘЄA NЄ[ⲰTЄPA] Diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra to right, wearing earring and necklace. Rev. ANTⲰNIOC AYTOKPATⲰP TRITON TPIⲰN ANΔPⲰN Bare head of Mark Antony to right. BMC 53. McAlee 174. Prieur 27. RPC I 4094. Darkly toned and with two attractive portraits. A few light marks and the obverse a bit weak as usual. About very fine.

Ex Leu Web Auction 15, 27-28 February 2021, 1657.

The tragic romance between Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony has touched generations of artists and poets, and therefore, the tetradrachms depicting the Queen of Egypt and the Roman general are, unsurprisingly, among the most famous and popular coins from the Imperatorial Era. Where exactly they were struck is still a matter of debate. They were traditionally attributed to Antiochia on the Orontes, but this has been questioned based on stylistic comparisons and the fact that Antiochia never formed part of Cleopatra's possessions. Die links show that her portrait is on the obverse, and the use of Greek legends and titles further strengthens the argument for a mint under her rule somewhere in the Levante. What is clear, in any case, is that the minting of coins showing the portrait of a Hellenistic queen on one side and that of a Roman general on the other was an unprecedented move, all the more so since Mark Antony was still married to Octavia at the time. This offense undoubtedly played into the hands of Octavian, Octavia's brother, who used Mark Antony's love affair with the foreign, exotic queen and the alleged sellout of Roman interests for his political propaganda prior to and during the civil war to come.
Starting price:
750 CHF
Hammer price:
7000 CHF
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Closing time: 28-Feb-21, 10:14:00 CET
All winning bids are subject to an 18.5% buyer's fee.