Elagabalus AR denarius – Stone of Emesa on quadriga – Rare; details on Stone perhaps depicting meteorite regmaglypts

Ancient Coins - Elagabalus AR denarius – Stone of Emesa on quadriga – Rare; details on Stone perhaps depicting meteorite regmaglypts
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Elagabalus AR denarius, 218-222 AD, 3.38gm, struck in Antioch 218-9 AD, 19.6mm.  Obv: ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG; laureate and draped bust right.  Rev: SANCTO DEO SOLI; slow quadriga right, bearing conical stone of Emesa, a standing eagle emblazoned on surface, surrounded by four parasols; ELAGABAL in exergue.  RIC IV-2 p43, 195; BMCRE 284; RSC 268.  gVF

OWNER’S NOTE: Other than this coin, I’ve never seen an example of an Elagabalus “Stone of Emesa on a quadriga” type denarius which showed any details (other than the eagle) on the Stone, and I’ve looked at photos of hundreds and hundreds of specimens.  On most specimens, the image of the Stone is too small or poorly engraved to have allowed for the depiction of details, or the Stone image on the specimen is too worn or otherwise obscured to reveal the celator's intent as to showing details on the Stone.

The Stone of Emesa was almost certainly a meteorite.  The speckled marks of the Stone on this denarius specimen may represent, among other possibilities, regmaglypts – the “finger impression” type indentations found on the surfaces of a great many large meteorites.  See the photo of a meteorite with regmaglypts in this listing.  Uranius Antoninus issued gold coins (Cohen, vol. IV, p503, 1) which show the Stone with circular blobs on its surface which may have been attempts to represent the same structures that are represented by the Stone’s speckles on this denarius.  Some surviving specimens of Antoninus’ bronze provincial coins (e.g. BMC Galatia etc. p241, 24) also show small rounded structures on the stone.

There is a small possibility that we may actually learn what the surface of the Stone looked like.  After Elagabalus’ assassination, the Stone was returned to its temple in Syria.  It has been speculated (P. M. Bellemare, “Meteorite Sparks a Cult,” Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 90, p.288) that it was smashed to pieces as a pagan artifact when the temple was converted to a Christian church.  The site is now a mosque and has never been excavated, so perhaps someday pieces of the Stone may be discovered below the present structure.

 

Ancient Coins - Elagabalus AR denarius – Stone of Emesa on quadriga – Rare; details on Stone perhaps depicting meteorite regmaglypts
Price SKU: 003172
US$ 1,600.00
  • € 1,412.80
  • £ 1,278.72
  • AUD 2,292.96
  • CHF 1,503.52
  • CAD 2,166.24

Rates for: 07/06/20

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