A strange Faustina

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orielensis, May 22, 2019.

  1. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Currently, I am trying to photograph and properly attribute some low grade coins I bought years ago when I started collecting ancients – mostly unspectacular LRBs that will have to go.

    This one, though, caught my attention. It is a Faustina II as with a Vesta reverse in admittedly low grade. Yet, what is special about it is that this reverse usually doesn't come with a veiled bust – I of course hadn't recognized this when writing my first tag.

    Rom – Faustina I, As, Vesta.png
    Faustina I (postumous), Roman Empire, As or Dupondius, 141 AD, Rome mint. Obv: DIVA FAVS[TINA], bust of Faustina, veiled, r. Rev: [A]VGUST[A], Vesta standing l., holding palladium and torch or sceptre; in fields flanking, SC. 27mm, 9.05g. RIC III Antoninus Pius 1178 or 1179 var (no veiled bust!).

    Depending of whether we interpret the object in Vesta's left hand as a torch or a sceptre, it is either RIC III 1178 or 1179. None of them is listed as having a veiled bust (which would be (b), (c), or (d)), in RIC:

    RIC Faustina.png

    What do you think? Should I consider this an unpublished variant or a mule? RIC records veiled busts with a DIVA FAVSTINA legend for some contemporary asses, among them 1168, 1169, 1171, and 1173.

    Please feel free to post all strange variants you have in your collections!
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Nice coin! Perhaps a mule with the obv of RIC 1187b and reverse of 1178/9?
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  4. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Awesome! I suspect you have a real rarity there, of a sort that will get @Roman Collector excited. Your post reminds me of this one of his from a while ago.
  5. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting variety - I am not really able to offer much by way of information, but I just so happened to get a Faustina II that I had "variation" problems with as well - I got in on eBay from a seller in France.

    It is a sestertius that is common, and in poor shape, but with FAVSTINAE in lieu of -A. I scoured the web and found only an old eBay auction (not mine) that matched it:

    Faustina II Sestertius Diana Luc May 19 France (0).jpg

    Faustina II Sestertius Diana Luc May 19 France (0det).jpg

    Faustina II Æ Sestertius
    (176-180 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    FAVSTINAE [AVGVSTAE], draped bust right. / [DIANA LVCIFERA SC] Diana standing right holding long torch in both hands.
    RIC 1630 var. (FAVSTINAE);
    Cohen 88; BMC 899.
    (21.44 grams / 27 mm)

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  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That is very interesting and certainly quite scarce. The coin is RIC 1179, Cohen 111 and BMC 1582, neither of which are listed as having a veiled bust as a variant. The three specimens from various museum collections at OCRE are all bare-headed as well. A search at acsearchinfo yields no veiled busts, either, but it does show several specimens of RIC 1178 misidentified as 1179.

    Of course, BMC and RIC are several decades old and undoubtedly are incomplete when it comes to scarcer bust varieties.

    Here's the British Museum specimen:

    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Vesta standing As BMC.jpg

    And the example in my own collection:

    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Vesta standing As.jpg

    If you're wondering what the Palladium and torch reverse (RIC 1178) looks like, this is an example (yours is not this coin):

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  7. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    @Roman Collector , thanks a ton for the info and the correct attribution!

    Distinguishing between a sceptre and a torch can sometimes be hard...
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