Faustina Friday -- Celestial Hemisphere Edition

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    With the acquisition of the middle bronze of this reverse type in Frank Robinson's latest auction, I have completed my mini set of coins bearing this reverse motif. The type depicts Aeternitas[1] standing facing, head left, holding a globe in her extended right hand and raising a starry veil over her head with her left hand. Mattingly identifies the starry veil as representing "the starry mantle of the sky."[2]

    The stars on the veil which billows out behind Aeternitas' head are often poorly rendered by the die-engraver, and are typically nonexistent on the denarius, which led to some doubt as to the identity of the obverse figure on this denomination.[3] However, on some examples of the coin, such as Zumbly's, the stars of the heavens appear on Aeternitas' midriff. On my examples, the stars are seen unequivocally only on the sestertius denomination.

    Coins of this reverse type were issued in the denarius, sestertius, and middle bronze[4] denominations. Like all of Faustina's coins bearing the AETERNITAS reverse legend in conjunction with the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse inscription, they were part of a massive issue which commenced in AD 150 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the empress' death in late (November?) AD 140. The iconography is clear in its allegory: the deified empress, Diva Faustina, resides for eternity in the celestial sphere.

    Post anything you feel is relevant!

    Faustina Sr AETERNITAS Aeternitas globe and billowing veil denarius.jpg
    Faustina I, AD 138-141.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.26 g, 18.4 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 150 and later.
    Obv: DIVA FAV-STINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AETERNITAS, Providentia standing left, holding globe and grasping veil which billows behind her.
    Refs: RIC 351; BMCRE 373-381; Cohen/RSC 32; Strack 447; RCV 4578; CRE 121.

    [​IMG]
    Faustina I, AD 138-141.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 26.49 g, 31.4 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 150 and later.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing left, holding globe and raising above head a starry mantle.
    Refs: RIC 1106; BMCRE 1495-97; Cohen 30; Strack 1262; RCV 4610.

    Faustina Sr AETERNITAS S C Aeternitas globe and billowing veil as.jpg
    Faustina I, AD 138-141.
    Roman copper alloy as or dupondius, 13.38 g, 27.2 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 150 and later.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing left, holding globe and raising above head a starry mantle.
    Refs: RIC 1158; BMCRE 1548; Cohen 31; Strack 1262; RCV 4643.
    Notes: Obverse die match to the British Museum specimen, a dupondius.

    ~~~

    1. Mattingly, in both RIC3 and BMCRE4, tentatively but mistakenly identifies the figure on the denarius version of the coin as Providentia, but correctly identifies the reverse figure as Aeternitas in his descriptions of the bronze denominations of the coin and in the introduction to BMCRE4. I have discussed this previously in this thread.

    2. Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, vol. IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. Introduction, indexes and plates. London, BMP, 1968, p. lxxxiii.

    3. I have discussed this previously.

    4. I have not encountered a specimen that could be unequivocally identified as an as. The specimens in the British Museum and the University of Göttingen collection are dupondii, as is the specimen in @thejewk's collection. The only example at acsearchinfo is identified as a dupondius by the auction firm. There are no examples of the coin at Wildwinds, CNG's archives, or The Coin Project with which to compare.
     
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  3. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Superb "sub collection" RC. About the difficulty of distinguishing between asses an Dupondii of this period, I read somewhere that the weight in itself is not a valid indicator; it's possibly to find heavy asses at 15g and light Dupondii at 8g...it also seems that the jagged edge of some coins are more often found on copper (asses). So can we only difference them by the colour: yellow=brass= dupondius or red=copper=as ?
     
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  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Nice Aeternitas trio, congrats Roman collector It says Aeternitas for eternity on the reverse, but actually Juno is depicted,
    seems Juno is a favourite of Faustina.

    Faustina sr Aeternita (2).JPG

    Faustina sr Juno.JPG
     
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  5. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Really nice mini-collection, RC. They will display wonderfully when you put (or store) them side by side. :)

    I like the reverse of your As or dupondius. More dynamic figure and veil.
     
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  6. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Very nice! I have had the same attraction towards coins with Spes on reverse.

    Here’s just a peacock trying to be relevant:
    Faustina Sr.jpg
     
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  7. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    Congratulations on the completed set RC, attractive examples too. I'm particularly partial to the slightly worn but striking sestertius.

    Here's my dupondius:
    Faustina I Aeternitas Dupondius 1158.jpg
     
  8. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    My Faustina Senior Aeternitas is taking a break on a globe... :)
    FaustinaSeniorAs_Globe.jpg

    Diva Faustina I (wife of A. Pius) Æ As. 10.51g, 29mm
    Rome, AD 146-161.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust to right, with hair plaited and curled
    Rev: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas seated to left on globe, extending hand and holding sceptre; SC in exergue.
    RIC III 1159 (Pius); C. 22; BMCRE 1551.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The denarius version of this coin was also issued with a veiled bust. I acquired one recently.

    Faustina Sr AETERNITAS Aeternitas globe and billowing veil denarius veiled bust.jpg
    Faustina I, AD 138-141.
    Roman AR denarius, 2.81 g, 19 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 150 and later.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing left, holding globe and raising above head a starry mantle.
    Refs: RIC 351b; BMCRE 379-81; Cohen/RSC 33; Strack 447; RCV --; CRE 122.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
  10. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    My only coin of faustina is a denarius with Fortuna reverse, RIC 348. somewhat identical to the Providentia reverse except without the veil, and instead, she holds a rudder.

    It has always been interesting to me that the DIVA coins of Faustina I are abundant and the lifetime coins are quite scarce, some are very rare; nevertheless, the lifetime coins command only a fraction of the sale prices above the coins struck after her death.
    DivaFaustinaSr-v2.jpg
     
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  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Nice example!

    Here's my worn coin of the same type, with a difference with obverse legend. For this coin Faustina's name has a break. On your coin there isn't a break.

    Faustina Senior, AE as, Aeternitas on globe, SC. RIC 1159. 10.92 grams

    D-Camera  Faustina Senior, AE As, AETERNITAS, on globe, RIC 1159, 10.92 g 11-11-20.jpg
     
  12. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Interesting example, @robinjojo
     
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