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DG11120

Mark Antony and Octavia, Cistophorus

Mark Antony, and Octavia, silver Cistophorus, Ephesus, c.39 BC, laureate bust right, M. ANTONIVS. IMP. COS. DESIG. ITER. ET. TERT, rev. bust of Octavia above cista flanked by snakes, III. VIR. R. P. C., 11.82g (RPC 2201). Good fine.

Sometimes referred to as a cistophoric tetradrachm or a tetradrachm of the cistophoric standard, the value of the cistophorus remains enigmatic. It weighed only three Attic drachms and the kings of Pergamum saw fit to establish their region as a closed currency area from the 2nd century BC onwards leading some to conclude that the coinage was overvalued. Nevertheless the denomination continued to be used in the immediate area for several centuries into the reign of Hadrian.

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