World Coins

Solidus auction includes gold aureus of Faustina the Elder

This gold aureus of Faustina the Elder realized a hammer price of €3,000 ($3,578 U.S.) during Solidus’ June 29 auction.

Images courtesy of Solidus.

Ancient Roman coins are known for featuring a wide variety of female figures.

Many of the women on the Roman coins were placed there because of a familial relationship to the ruler, but women certainly had a place in this most public of media nearly 2,000 years ago.

Seven coins of Faustina I or her daughter Faustina II were offered at auction by the German firm Solidus in its 82nd auction, conducted June 29.

Leading the offerings was the gold aureus of Faustina the Elder, the wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius.

The coin, struck circa A.D. 138 to 141, was graded Very Fine and realized a hammer price of €3,000 ($3,578 U.S.), not counting the buyer’s fee and Value Added Tax.

A draped bust of the empress with a “complicated hairstyle,” according to the firm, appears on the obverse, crowned by a wreath of hair.

The reverse depicts a Veiled Juno with patera (a broad, shallow dish used for pouring libations) and scepter, standing, facing to her right, with a peacock at her feet looking up at her.

It measures 19 millimeters in diameter and weighs 7.29 grams, about the size of a Lincoln cent but three times as heavy.

Silver coin for her daughter

The firm offered several silver denarii of her daughter, Faustina the Younger, led by an Almost Extremely Fine example that realized a hammer price of €65 ($77.50).

Faustina the Younger, or Faustina II, as the auction firm refers to her, was wife to her maternal cousin Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

She was held in high esteem by soldiers and her own husband as Augusta and mater Castrorum (“Mother of the Camp”) and was given divine honors after her death.

The circa A.D. 161 coin was struck in Rome and features a her draped bust on the obverse.

The reverse shows two children (twins Commodus and Antoninus) next to each other on a cloth-adorned throne.

The coin measures 17 millimeters in diameter and weighs 2.77 grams.

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