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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Some rare Antonine sestertii with ordinary types 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Some rare Antonine sestertii with ordinary types  (Read 4038 times)
curtislclay
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« on: December 27, 2006, 01:10:49 am »

1.  Antoninus as Caesar sestertius, 31 mm., 27.38 g., Concordia seated, cornucopia under throne, CONCORD TRIB POT COS S C.

Antoninus was Caesar for only 4 1/2 months in 138, from his adoption by Hadrian on 25 Feb. until Hadrian's death on 10 July, when Antoninus became Augustus in Hadrian's place.

Antoninus' coinage as Caesar was produced in two issues, the larger main issue dated TRIB POT COS and a smaller final issue dated TRIB POT COS DES II.

The predominant rev. type on Antoninus' sestertii as Caesar was PIETAS sacrificing, in four main variants: Pietas sacr. l. at altar, legend PIETAS in field or in exergue; Pietas sacr. r. at altar, PIETAS again either in field or in exergue.  All four variants occur in both issues, first with COS, then with COS DES II.

Any OTHER type on a sestertius of Antoninus as Caesar is very rare.   Strack 898 records the present CONCORD type in just two specimens: with draped bust in Paris, and with bare head in Berlin.

I have been a specialty collector of the coinage of Antoninus as Caesar for about forty years, but had only seen this CONCORD sestertius offered once before: a specimen with draped bust in a Lanz sale about ten years ago, in VF condition and estimated too high for me to compete, something like $800 if I recall correctly.

So I was pleased to get this reasonably attractive specimen with head bare at a very cheap price, since of course the type looks common, and since the obverse was encrusted and needed many hours of mechanical cleaning!

The obv. die is unusual for having the legend continue under the portrait, ANTONINV - S.  I know the same obv. die combined with three varieties of the PIETAS type in the first issue (COS).

A similar CONCORD type had been struck earlier for Aelius Caesar, and for Antoninus Caesar it was struck only in his first issue (COS), not in his second (COS DES II).  Apparently it was one of Antoninus' earliest types, carried over from Aelius but then soon discontinued.

Do not believe the absurd theory advanced by P.V. Hill, and unfortunately embraced by David Sear in his new Millennium Roman Coins and their Values, vol. 2, p. 204, that "the issues formerly attributed to the period of Antoninus as Caesar under Hadrian should be reassigned to the opening months of Antoninus' reign when, during his dispute with the Senate about the consecration of Hadrian, Antoninus temporarily renounced the title of Augustus"!  This theory makes an incomprehensible chaos of the clear sequence of titles and types on the coinage and has, in my opinion, no chance whatever of being correct.

Welcome back, Frans D.; it's great that your operation went so well!  As perhaps only the world's second specialty collector of Antoninus in 138-9, hopefully you can find your own CONCORD sestertius of Antoninus Caesar.  A draped specimen would be especially nice; that's one I'm still after myself!

Thanks to Susan Headley for producing the image of the coin on the scanner we just inherited from a friend!
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2006, 11:03:47 am »

Curtis, you are too modest.  This should have been posted as "Coin of the Decade"!  Presumably destined for the BM?
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curtislclay
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2006, 12:09:01 pm »

In an Antoninus Caesar collection, it is certainly at least a "Coin of the Year"; but that's a very narrow specialty!

Ideally my new Antoninus collection will go to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, since they not the BM purchased my original Antoninus collection fifteen years ago.  The BM bought post-193, including my main specialty, the Severan period.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2006, 12:25:27 pm »

Ave Curtis,

You are the greatest numismat of the web epoch. 

Youri
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2006, 11:15:22 pm »

Need I add that that is how one hopes to see difficult coins cleaned?  It is beautiful, besides important.  Pat L.
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curtislclay
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2006, 01:23:29 am »

2.  Faustina I sestertius, 30-33 mm., 25.79 g., obv. legend FAVSTINA AVGVSTA ANTONINI AVG PII P P (?), rev. CONCORDIA AVG S C.

Since Faustina I died "in the third year of Antoninus' reign", and Pius continued to strike coins for her as Diva until his own death 20 years later in 161, her lifetime issues are a lot scarcer than her posthumous issues.

The normal obv. legend of Faustina's lifetime bronzes is FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII P P.  Strack was the first to notice a few sestertii with AVGVSTA instead of just AVG in the legend: one coin with type CONCORDIA AVG in Berlin and two with IVNONI REGINAE in Paris, one with peacock before Juno and one without the peacock.

I had seen these sestertii in Strack many times, but only began to actively look for specimens quite recently, and came across this one, with the Concordia reverse, in a lot of three worn sestertii online.

My coin MAY be lacking P P at the end of its obverse legend, in which case it would correspond to Faustina's rare earliest issue of denarii, which similarly omit P P and were presumably struck before Antoninus accepted that title early in 139.

Could it be that the AVGVSTA legend on sestertii ALWAYS omits P P, and it was merely an error of Strack's to add P P to this legend in his catalogueStrack illustrates one of the Paris specimens, which is from the same obv. die as my new coin, and the end of its legend is entirely off flan and illegible.  But no, the Paris curator of Roman coins assures me that P P is clearly present on the other Paris coin!

If any list member possesses a sestertius of Faustina I with this variant of the obv. legend, please post an image so we can see whether it includes P P!
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2006, 01:51:41 am »

3.  Faustina II sest., 31-32 mm., 25.26 g., earliest obv. legend FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL and earliest hairdo, rev. IVNONI LVCINAE S C, Juno of Childbirth standing left.

This type occurs on aurei, but is missing from denarii, and is rare on bronzes.  Paris has a sestertius just like mine (Cohen 133: "Common"!), and there is one in Vienna with a portrait variant, stephane in hair, but these were the only two found by Strack 1299.  The middle bronze is also rare: not in Cohen, but Strack found two specimens, and there are two more in BMC 2153-4.

By chance my coin is from the same obv. die as a very fine LAETITIAE PVBLICAE S C sestertius illustrated by Strack from the Vienna collection, and also reproduced below.

We know that Faustina II was made Augusta, and the tribunician power was accorded to her husband Marcus Aurelius, when they produced a daughter on 1 Dec. 147 AD.  The Juno of Childbirth on my new coin, and the associated Public Rejoicing commemorated by the die-linked Vienna sestertius, may well refer to this first childbirth, though I cannot exclude a reference to the second imperial grandchild instead, a boy, born a year or two later.

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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2006, 01:57:52 am »

Dear Curtis,

I am going to look again all my antonines bronze collection, and i´ll look in a different way.
Many thanks.

Ignacio.
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Roma_Orbis
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ad avgvsta per angvsta


« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2006, 04:38:08 am »

Here is my Dupondius (metal is yellow) with the early bust and legend, reverse LAETITIAE PVBLICAE.

Jérôme
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2007, 03:59:46 am »

Here is my sestertius with PIETAS reverse.

Pietas is left and i believe is COS DES but the reverse lengend is worm and i can´t see it.

Ignacio.
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2007, 03:52:06 pm »

Hi
Here my sestertius Pietas in field, has reverse with TRIB POT COS DES II

Best regards

ser
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curtislclay
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2007, 08:53:33 am »

Nice coins, useful for my study!

Judging from the spacing of POT at 1-3 o'clock, I think Ignacio's coin is first issue, COS.  I also know the same obv. die combined with other first-issue rev. dies.

I also know Rugser's obv. die, combined with another second-issue reverse die.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2007, 02:58:00 pm »

Here's my latest Antoninus acquisition. I hope it finds grace in your eyes, despite its quite mediocre condition.

Antoninus Pius, Orichalcum Dupondius, 139 AD
Obv. ANTONINUS - AUG PIUS PP
Radiate head right
Rev. (TR POT - COS) II around, ITALIA in exergue, S-C across field
Italia seated left on globe, holding sceptre in left and cornu copiae in right hand
Max. diameter 27mm, weight 11.84g
RIC 594, Cohen 465

This seems to be a rare coin. The sestertius from Antoninus' third consulate (RIC 746 and 747) isn't rare (Common and Scarce, respectively), while RIC rates the early dupondius as R2, quoting Cohen 465. Cohen, in turn, values the coin (not in this condition, however!) at 20 Francs, quoting as provenance "Autrefois, M. Herpin" (formerly in Mr. Herpin's collection), which probably means that by his time the coin was missing in the great museum collections. There are nineteen of the sestertii of 140-144 AD on Coinarchives, but no dupondius.

Best regards,

Rupert
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curtislclay
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2007, 08:18:09 pm »

Strack 882: dup. in Vienna, As in Bologna.  Indeed very rare as middle bronze!

That is COS III, doubtless also the date of the Herpin coin and of yours.  This Italia type is not known to have been struck in 139, only 140-4.  The Herpin coin that provided the reading COS II will have been tooled, or off center with the third stroke of III off flan.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2007, 03:35:39 am »

Curtis e.a.
Very informative thread, right from my heart as an Antonine collector!
At the moment I am busy making plastercasts of my early coins (sometimes easy; sometimes a pain in the ....) but it is coming. During my recovery I hope to finish them all and will then produce a preliminary survey on Forum.
Wishing all of our Forum members a very healthy, prosperous and numismatically happy 2007!!


Frans
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