Featured Beautiful Crispina Sestertius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    When Bruttia Crispina, the teenage daughter of twice Consul Gaius Bruttius Praesens
    and his wive Valeria, married the 16 year old Commodus in the summer of 178, she
    immediately received the title Augusta and thus became the sole empress of the Roman
    Empire, as the previous empress and wife of the Senior Emperor Marcus Aurelius,
    Faustina the Younger, had died three years before.
    It was Marcus himself who had arranged the marriage of his son to crispina, who was not
    only described as being a graceful person with a susceptible heart, but also brought a dowry of a large number of estates in Lucania.

    Crispina´s images fall into two portrait types. The first type, which we see here, comemorates her marrige to Commodus in 178 AD, whereas Crispina´s second type marks Commodus´s accession in AD 180.
    The hairstyle here is similar to that of Faustina minor in the 1st figurative type. In place of the loosely hanging hairline bows we see a heavy rolled plaid which is parted over the center of the forehead and surrounds the face. The plaits on the side of the head are four or five in number and are drawn up into a large bun which cobers much of the back of her head. The ears are left uncovered. Crispina´s forehead is straight, her eyes long and almond-shaped, her nose short, and her mouth small and full. A visual feature of her youthfulness is the uncovered neck.

    This coiffure is a precursor to the hair styles of the wife and daughter of Didius Julianus, Manlia Scantilla and Didia Clara, as well es the "helmet cuts" of Julia Domna and Plautilla.

    P2150831.jpg

    CRISPINA AVGVSTA - Draped bust of Crispina right.
    SALVS S C - Salus seated left, holding patera from which she feeds snake coiled
    around altar, resting arm on back of chair
    Sestertius, Rome, ca. AD 178-180
    22,16 gr / 30 mm
    RIC (Commodus) 672a; Cohen 33; BMCRE (Commodus) 420; MIR 18, 16-6a; Sear 6010, Banti 14 (21 specimens)
    ex J. Alan Seeger Collection; CNG 76, 12.09.2007, lot 3330; ex Tom Cederlind

    P2150834.jpg

    Crispina did not seem to have any significant political influence over her husband during his bizarre reign. Her marriage failed to produce an heir due to her husband's inability, which led to a dynastic succession crisis.
    Crispina was falsely charged with adultry by her husband and was banished to the island of Capri, where she executed in 192, only months before the murder of Commodus.
    Her downfall was not connected to that of Lucilla as was once thought.

    The proportion of the coinage struck for the empress fell significantly under Commodus, so Sestertii of Crispina are surprisingly scarce as compared to the other Antonine empresses.

    This Sestertius´ previous owner, Dr. John Alan Seeger (1929-2010), was a member of the American Numismatic Society for almost 60 years and started assembling his collection in the late 1940s.
    My Crispina later went through the hands of dealer Thomas Bentley Cederlind (1959-2015), whose ticket came with it:

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-03-25 um 14.01.23.png

    Please post your Crispinas, theories about the dating her coins, or any extra info you might have about my coin´s provenance.
     
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    A beautiful bronze & of one of my favorite imperial ladies.

    [​IMG]
    Crispina (178 - 182 A.D.)
    Æ Sestertius
    O: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right.
    R: CONCORDIA, S C across lower field, Concordia seated left, holding patera in outstretched right hand and cradling cornucopia in left arm.
    Rome Mint
    18.35g
    32mm
    RIC 665, Cohen 6, BMC 406,409

    [​IMG]
    Crispina (178 - 182 A.D.)
    Æ Sestertius
    O: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right.
    R: HILARTAS S-C, Hilaritas standing left, holding long palm and cornucopiae.
    Rome
    18.8g
    33mm
    RIC III 668 (Commodus)

    Published on Wildwinds!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Bump, others should see the nice OP coin.
     
    Julius Germanicus likes this.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That OP coin is gorgeous, @Julius Germanicus ! Antonine-era sestertii circulated for years and are typically found well-worn. Higher-grade, problem-free coins such as yours are quite scarce indeed. That's an acquisition you can be proud of.

    Here are my Crispina Sestertii. These are typical, humbler examples. You can see there are a couple of varieties of hairstyle. Of the couple dozen types issued for this empress in bronze, only one has the longer legend referencing her role as wife of Commodus, CRISPINA AVG IMP COMMODI AVG. It is the fourth of my five examples:

    [​IMG]
    Rome, AD 180-182
    19.63 g; 30.3 mm
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right
    Rev: CONCORDIA SC, Concordia seated left, holding patera and cornucopiae
    Refs: RIC 556; BMCRE 406-410; RCV 6004; Cohen 6; MIR 4

    [​IMG]
    Rome, AD 180-182
    20.50 g; 30.7 mm
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right
    Rev: LAETITIA SC, Laetitia standing left, holding wreath and rudder on globe
    Refs: RIC 669; BMCRE 416-417; RCV 6007; Cohen 27

    [​IMG]
    Rome, AD 177-182
    21.12 g; 30.2 mm
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right
    Rev: SALVS SC, Salus seated left, feeding out of a patera a snake coiled around altar, left arm on side of chair
    Refs: RIC 672a; BMCRE 420-422; RCV 6010; Cohen 33

    [​IMG]
    Rome, AD 178-180
    19.95 g; 28.1 mm
    Obv: CRISPINA AVG IMP COMMODI AVG, bare-headed and draped bust, right
    Rev: SALVS SC, Salus seated left, feeding out of a patera a snake coiled around altar, left arm on side of chair
    Refs: RIC 672b; BMCRE 423; RCV 6009; Cohen 32; MIR 18

    [​IMG]
    Rome, AD 180-182
    18.62 g; 30.9 mm
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right
    Rev: VENVS FELIX SC, Venus seated left, holding Victory and scepter
    Refs: RIC 673; BMCRE 424-425; RCV 6011; Cohen 40; MIR 21
     
  6. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    Yep. Here is my first Crispina - very well-worn but I still like it because of it´s golden Orichalcum tone - nevertheless I think the OP coin is a huge improvement:

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-03-25 um 14.46.07.png


    Your Crispinas No 2 and 4 feature Crispinas second (and last) portrait style: the hairstyle of the first type featuring a heavy plaid ("Stirnrollen-Melonenfrisur") is replaced by an entirely new coiffure in which the hair is gently waved, parted in the center, and again drawn into a large bun. The hair descends low on the neck and entiely covers the ears. The physiognomy is comparable to the first type.

    There are no further styles recorded on the coinage because minting for Crispina seems to have ceased after 182 AD, even though she must have retained her title as Augusta for almost another decade.

    This must have been her very earliest emission, because there seems to have been a demand to explain the reason for her status as Augusta which must have been deemed superfluous on later emissions.

    Sear dates this legend to 178-180 and the shorter one to 180-182, but does not take into account the different portrait types discussed above and the absolute rarity of the first version.
    The Guelma hoard which shows a rather representative sample of the Sestertii in circulation in North Africa in 255 aD includes 31 Sestertii with the short legend but not a single specimen with the long one. Banti in comparison found 113 Sestertii with the short and 18 with the long legend in museums and collections in 1985.

    Therefore I would date Crispinas coins like this:
    1) First style, long legend: 178
    2) First style, short legend: 178-180
    3) Second style, short legend: 180-182
     
  7. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Based on what Julius Germanicus just wrote, I would date my Crispina to 178-180 A.D. Thanks for the information.
    [​IMG]
    Bronze Dupondius
    Rome mint, A.D. 178-180
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA
    Rev: VENUS - Venus, standing, facing left, holding apple and drawing drapery from back of neck with right hand, between S and C
    RIC (Commodus) 684
    24mm, 11.4g.
     
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  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Crispina actually has three hairstyles, all of which are represented on my examples above:

    1) The first style (Stirnrollen-Melonenfrisur), in which multiple braids are oriented from front to back, the forehead framed by a large braid extending to a chignon in the back.

    Crispina DIS GENITALIBVS Denarius.jpg
    Crispina, AD 180-182
    Roman AR denarius, 3.15 g, 19.5 mm, 11 h
    Rome, AD 177-180
    Obv: CRISPINA AVG, bare-headed and draped bust, right
    Rev: DIS GENITALIBVS, large rectangular altar, garlanded and lighted
    Refs: RIC 281a; BMCRE 31-32; RSC 15; RCV 5999 var.; MIR 18, 8-4a; CRE 277.

    Crispina IVNO LVCINAE As.jpg
    Crispina, AD 177-182.
    Roman Æ As; 13.19 g, 25 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, AD 177-180.
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust right
    Rev: IVNO LVCINA SC, Juno standing l., holding patera and scepter
    Refs: RIC 680; BMCRE 433; Cohen 24; RCV 6018

    2) A simpler style, with unbraided, wavy hair gathered into a chignon in the back:
    Crispina VENVS FELIX As.jpg
    Crispina, AD 177-182.
    Roman Æ As, 11.64 g, 23.6 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 180-182.
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust right
    Rev: VENVS FELIX SC, Venus seated left, holding Victory and scepter
    Refs: RIC 686; BMCRE 440; Cohen 41; RCV 6021
    Crispina LAETITIA Sestertius.jpg
    Crispina, AD 177-182.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 20.50 g, 30.7 mm.
    Rome, AD 180-182
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right
    Rev: LAETITIA SC, Laetitia standing left, holding wreath and rudder on globe
    Refs: RIC 669; BMCRE 416; RCV 6007; Cohen 27

    3) A more complex style, with braids that are oriented top to side and interwoven with a series of small braids framing the forehead, all gathered into a large bun on the back of the head. This is similar to the last issues of Faustina II. The VENVS FELIX sestertius I posted above has this style (rephotographed in sunlight):

    Crispina VENVS FELIX Sestertius.jpg
    Crispina, AD 177-182.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 18.62 g; 30.9 mm.
    Rome, AD 178-182.
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: VENVS FELIX SC, Venus seated left, holding Victory and scepter.
    Refs: RIC 673; BMCRE 424; RCV 6011; Cohen 40; MIR 21.

    This is better seen on this example sold by CNG:

    Crispina VENVS FELIX Sestertius CNG.jpg

    And on this denarius in my collection:

    Crispina CERES Denarius.jpg
    Crispina, AD 177-182.
    Roman AR denarius; 2.84 g, 17.5 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 178-182.
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CERES, Ceres standing l., holding corn ears and long torch.
    Refs: RIC 276; BMCRE 33; Cohen 1; RCV 5995; MIR 2.

    ~~~

    A few words about this third hairstyle. As one can see from the CERES standing denarius above, this seems to be a modification of the first style, with the stylist changing the orientation of the braids from front-to-back to top-to-side and changing the single large braid framing the forehead to several smaller braids framing the forehead interwoven with the braids on the side and top of the head.

    More significantly, I think, is the resemblance of this hairstyle to that of Crispina's mother-in-law, Faustina II, who is depicted in a nearly identical style on the last coins of her lifetime and on her posthumous issues. Note:

    Faustina Jr MATRI MAGNAE denarius.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.20 g, 17.7 mm, 1 h.
    Rome, AD 170-175.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: MATRI MAGNAE, Cybele seated left holding branch in right hand, resting left arm on drum; at her side, lion.
    Refs: RIC 706; BMCRE 134; Cohen 192; RCV 5281; MIR 26; CRE 173.

    Faustina Jr CONSECRATIO moon and stars denarius.jpg
    Faustina Jr, AD 161-175.
    Roman AR denarius; 3.14 g, 17 mm.
    Rome, AD 176 or later.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, crescent moon around large star, surrounded by six stars.
    Refs: RIC 750; BMCRE 718; Cohen 83; RCV 5219; MIR 63; CRE 172.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  9. roman99

    roman99 Well-Known Member

    Cool coin, but $1500 seems incredibly excessive, am I mistaken?
     
  10. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    I got it for 210 USD plus comission and postage and am quite happy with that :)
     
  11. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Ancient coins connect us! Supporter

    Impressive coin! The crispness (not a pun) of detail is beautiful.
     
  12. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  13. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Great OP and great thread! Here's a dupondius in the third style that @Roman Collector showed.

    Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 11.15.37 PM.jpg
     
  14. arizonarobin

    arizonarobin Well-Known Member Supporter

    The OP coin is beautiful. I have yet to add a Sestertius of her and this thread is making me want to hunt one down!
    I do have three coins of Crispina, the first has (IMHO) a beautiful portrait of her. I think all three of my coins would fall under Hairstyle 1.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Beautiful OP coin !

    I bought the following middle bronze (from AMCC auction #1) just because I felt in love with the rendering of Crispina's lips

    [​IMG]
    Crispina (178-183), AE As, issued 180-182. Rome, 11.80g, 25mm.
    Obv: CRISPINA AVGVSTA; Draped bust right, hair knotted in a bun in back.
    Rev: LAETITIA; Laetitia standing left, holding wreath & rudder on globe.
    RIC 683; BMC 435; Cohen 28

    Q
     
  16. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Wow! That portrait! Those glassy surfaces! Beautiful, indeed.

    Here's one from my first collection of Roman coins.

    Judging from this and many of the other coins here, it would seem that Crispina had quite the giraffe neck, but you can tell she was an attractive lady.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I think she was. Here's Ella Becroft playing Crispina in "Roman Empire: Reign of Blood." I wish the producers of the series would have paid closer attention to reproducing Crispina's actual hairstyle, though.

    Crispina as played by Ella Becroft.png Crispina as played by Ella Becroft 2.png
     
  18. RichardT

    RichardT Active Member

    I'm sorry if I'm mistaken. But is the reverse tooled? The snake for example has a sharp outline but the S near it doesn't.

    The reverse fields seem a little strange too.
     
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