World Coins

Ancient Roman coins featuring women common, affordable

Sabina, the wife of Hadrianus, appears on the obverse of this eminently affordable silver denarius of ancient Rome. The circa A.D. 128 to 126 coin marks her elevation to the title Augusta.

Images courtesy of Schulman B.V.

Though the number of American coins showing historical women is notably limited, ancient Roman coins are a series known for featuring an abundance 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.

One such coin, depicting Sabina, the wife of Hadrianus, was sold in Schulman B.V.’s July 3 sale.

The circa A.D. 128 to 136 silver denarius of Rome features the ruler’s wife on the obverse and Concordia, seated, on the reverse. 

Sabina was the daughter of Salonia Matidia and a grandniece of Trajan. 

She married Hadrian in A.D. 100. She accompanied him on most of his journeys but their marriage was an unhappy one. She was granted the title of Augusta in A.D. 128 and died in A.D. 136, preceding her husband by about 18 months. 

A special coinage, including this piece, was issued to commemorate her consecration. 

Graded Nearly Very Fine by the auction house, the coin realized €72 (about $79.71 U.S.), including the 20 percent buyer’s fee. 

To learn more results of the sale, visit the firm website

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