Secret Saturn Sent Something From a Certain Emperor's Special Someone

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Justin Lee, Dec 24, 2020.

  1. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    Boy, is that a mouthful!

    Over the weekend, I opened my SS package and, WOW(!!!), was I delighted! It was a larger package—much larger than for just a simple coin—so when I opened it and pulled out a book, I was pleasantly surprised! It is Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, a book I was not familiar with.


    In 2020, I have been purchasing myself some books centered around the Punic Wars and Carthage... all non-fiction, dense, and, at times, a struggle to get through. With this book being fiction, and with the stellar recommendation from my SS, I am excited to have a bit more of an entertaining read to pick up over the holiday break!

    I noticed that beneath the paperback cover, there was bulge. "Could it be?!?" A COIN! Yes, sir... there was a coin taped within on the first page inside. And a very nice handwritten note above... We'll get back to that note in a moment.

    The coin is one that is related to the topic of the book: Hadrian. I'm not sure if my SS had been snooping on my post this past year or so and seeing the type of coins that I've been snatching up or what, but it was a Roman Alexandrian coin. That, and he must've been reading my mind as well, because, well... it's not technically a coin (or is it?) but rather a lead tessera, the very type of thing that I have been seeing others post and thinking that maybe I should look into getting one/some to expand my Alexandrian sub-collection.

    And, let me tell you, this ain't no regular, run-of-the-mill tessera. This one is issued in the name or in deified remembrance of a certain emperor's "special someone"... yep, that one: Antinous! Hadrian's young companion who died too early. So, not only do I now have my first Alexandrian lead tessera, but I also have my first Antinous(!!!), an individual that I never thought I'd own an item from!


    The attribution that came in the 2x2 holder said that it had a date on it, but that it was not determined, and also mentioned that the reverse was blank. Being someone who likes a little bit of mystery, I took it as a challenge, examined the specimen a bit further, and did some sleuthing. And I think I figured it out!

    You see, I thought that after a little brushing on the obverse and then under the right light, I could see in the reflecting of the light a swirly shape at the right of the bust. I already knew that there was the remnants of the L behind the bust, so I knew that the placement for the rest of the date should be before it. That swirl shape looked like an ς or S, representing year 6.

    I also felt that the reverse had too much going on to be blank. And after examining it at different rotations, a common Alexandrian reverse type began to emerge to my mind. It looked to me like a reclining Nilus with arm/elbow on the far right and his body just above that slanting to the lower left. So, now I just needed to hunt down an example of a lead tessera with Antinous on obverse, year 6, and Nilus reverse. I head to ACSearch and guess what I find... a single example of this type!

    The new attribution I'll be using is:
    Antinous, Companion of Hadrian
    PB Tessera, Alexandria, Egypt
    Dated RY 6 of an uncertain emperor, circa 2nd-3rd centuries AD
    Obverse: Draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown; L-ς (date) across fields
    Reverse: Nilus reclining left, holding reeds and cornucopiae; crocodile below.
    References: Dattari (Savio) -, Köln -, Emmett -
    cf: Roma Numismatics, E-Live Auction 2 (8-30-2018), Lot # 432
    Size: 20mm, 5g

    But that's not all. For me, the best part of the gift, is the feeling of connection I got from my SS with his personal note on the inside of the book and in his valediction, my SS used his name.


    @ycon, I want to send you a giant, heartfelt THANK YOU for your thoughtfulness, your generous gifts, and your kind words! It means the world to me! And, no, we don't mind a bit of wear... it gives it personality!

    And a secondary and hearty THANK YOU to @Curtisimo for running the Secret Saturn this year, and for all his effort and hard work! You change lives, buddy!

    And lastly, a tertiary THANK YOU to you all in the CT community, new and ancient, frequent and occasional. You are what makes this a great place to keep coming back to. <3!!
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Pishpash

    Pishpash Well-Known Member

    Ordered from Amazon. I also have a lead tessera of Antinous, I couldn't afford a coin.
    ycon and Justin Lee like this.
  4. Pishpash

    Pishpash Well-Known Member

    @Justin Lee have you read Beloved and God by Royston Lambert? It is a must read, recommended by someone on this forum.
    Justin Lee likes this.
  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    I haven't! I'll definitely be adding that to my wishlist and keeping an eye out for it. Thanks!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page