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Exciting Hadrian Cistophoric Tetradrachm Surfaces

Die Variety of Hadrian Cistophoric Tetradrachm

While reading through the October issue of the British coin publication, Coin News, I noticed a really striking Roman coin for sale. British coin dealerMike R. Vosper, who lists coins for sale on his site, at V-Coins and in an eBay Store and specializes in ancient Greek and Roman coins, as well as Celtic and British hammered coinage, had in his Coin News ad a beautiful Cistophoric Tetradrachm of Hadrian. This coin is very sharp in detail and hosts a lovely temple design on the reverse. Vospers price is 1,500 Pounds, or a little over $3,000 US Dollars.

A Cistophoric Tetradrachm is a large silver type, struck to the weight of four drachm or denarius. This particular coin uses Greek style lettering and would have been made for use in what is now Turkey. These were areas of the former Greek provinces and so this Roman Provincial coin would have been competing with coins of Alexander still in use in that area.

If you are interested in obtaining more information on Hadrian's Cistophoric Tetradrachms circa 117-138 AD, you might want to check out Bill Metcalf's book published through the American Numismatic Society, The Cistophori of Hadrian, Numismatic Studies No.15, 1980. There is also an earlier volume, Numismatic Studies No.14 by Fred Kleiner and Sydney P. Noe, titled The Early Cistophoric Coinage, dealing with Greek coins from 228-133 BC which display snakes on both obverse and reverse.

Friend and fellow Blogger, token historian, medallist and Checker enthusiast, George Cuhaj, was working at the ANS at the time that Metcalf was researching, compiling and writing the Hadrian volume. He did much of the legwork involved in carting coins and photos back and forth from the ANS vault to photography, though he did not get any recognition in print. He did, however, get an autographed book though his ANS membership subscription. George was also kind enough help me to better understand this particular coin and the references involved. In fact when I pointed out to George that Vospers example differs in several respects from the similar example noted in Metcalf, RIC459b, he offered to contact Bill with the information and image from Vosper's offering in an effort to help further the study.

What a friendly hobby we share!