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A silver coin of Elagabalus with a reverse showing him as a Syrian priest. Coin Type: Silver denarius of Elagabalus, 218-222 CE
Mint and Date: Rome, 221 CE
Size and Weight: 18mm x 19mm, 2.69 g
Obverse: IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG
Laureate, draped, horned bust right with moustache, seen from in front.
Reverse: SVMMVS SACERDOS AVG
Elagabalus standing facing, head left, in Syrian priestly robes, sacrificing from patera over flaming tripod altar. Cypress branch in left hand, held downwards.
Field marks: Star in left field, remains of erased star in right field.
Provenance:Curtis Clay (personal exchange), January 2007
Ref: RCV (2002) 7549; RIC IV 146; BMCRE V p.565, 232
BW Ref: 029 030 102
Click on the picture for a larger scale view of the coin
Note: This excellent and interesting coin (together with an as of Herennia Etruscilla) was given to me by Curtis Clay in exchange for this scarce denarius of Elagabalus, which is not in the British Museum's collection. Curtis says of the coin he gave me: "a similar SVMMVS SACERDOS AVG denarius. This is the standard type, sacrificing left not right, but also an interesting variety, that I discovered myself: the engraver first placed the "star" behind the emperor, then eradicated it in the die and re-engraved it in front of the emperor, obviously because it represents the emperor's sun god, so should be placed before him when he is depicted sacrificing to his god! There are quite a few dies of each of the four "emperor-sacrificing" types on which this correction was made, and NO surviving coins of these regular types with the star erroneously behind the emperor. On the rare first versions of the types, in contrast, one of which you have given me, the star is invariably wrong, that is behind the emperor rather than in front of him. The eradicated star dies are obviously the first of the new types, as confirmed by the portrait of the emperor, with moustache but still without beard, whereas most coins of these types show the chin beard."
See also this similar coin: Scarce denarius of Elagabalus.

The content of this page was last updated on 5 April 2011