World Coins

Rare depiction of strong, beautiful woman aureus

Heritage offered a fascinating group of flashy (and very old) gold coins to kick off its World and Ancient Coins Platinum Night sale Aug. 3, part of its American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money auctions: The Golden Gate Collection of Roman Gold Aurei. The group of 40 coins covers a century-long span during the peak of the Roman Imperial period from A.D. 60 to 160, “a time when the Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial [extent], economic influence, and artistic influence, all reflected in its coinage.” Heritage suspects that the group, acquired by the consignor’s father in 1981, was likely unearthed as a single find in Israel in the late 1970s, though more specific information on the find location is elusive.

Steve rarely writes about the world coins, so this group of coins must be a real treat if he decided to cover it. Here’s the second of these Roman gold coins:

The Lot:

Faustina Junior, wife of Marcus Aurelius (149 to 175/6) gold aureus, Choice About Uncirculated, NGC Star, Fine Style

The Price:


The Story:

While Roman coins depicting men formed the majority of the collection, some strong and beautiful women were also represented, including Faustina Junior, daughter of Antoninus Pius and wife of Marcus Aurelius.

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A sensitive gold aureus struck in Rome featuring an expressive portrait of the roughly 20-year-old princess, with her elegant hair waved and rolled in a double bun coiled at the back and wound through with a band of pearls and held in place with a hair band, sold for $25,850.

When value guides differ, what is a collector to do?”How can collectors determine a coin’s value when price guides assign it different values? Also in this week’s print issue, we learn of the first report of a 2017 doubled die variety, found on a Lincoln cent.

It was graded Choice About Uncirculated by NGC with both surfaces and strike graded 5/5, with an NGC ? designation and Fine Style notation, recognizing the high relief die work and detailed engraving. The reverse depicts a standing Venus wearing drapery that both reveals and conceals her curvy figure, facing the viewer, her head turned left, holding an apple in her right hand and a ship’s tiller entwined by a dolphin in her left. When this coin was struck in 149 to 152, the younger Faustina had just been named empress by the Senate to honor her father.

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