Faustina Friday -- Laetitia left and right!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Post your coins featuring Laetitia, coins with mirror-image reverse types, or anything you feel is relevant!

    There are many words in Latin for "happiness" which appear on Roman coins. Felicitas connotes contentment, hilaritas connotes rejoicing, and laetitia connotes a feeling of joy, exultation, rejoicing, gladness, pleasure, or delight. Personifications of Felicitas, Hilaritas, and Laetitia commonly occur on Roman coins. Unsurprisingly, all three appear on the coinage issued for Faustina II.

    Each personification has different attributes. Felicitas holds a caduceus and cornucopia or scepter; not infrequently, she leans on a column. Hilaritas typically holds a cornucopiae and palm branch or scepter and may be accompanied by children, whereas Laetitia typically holds some combination of a scepter, wreath, ears of grain, or an anchor or rudder.

    Laetitia appears on the very first issues for the young empress Faustina II. This one, bearing her earliest hairstyle and issued under Antoninus Pius, dates to AD 147-149, and advertises rejoicing by the public. It was issued in the aureus, denarius, sestertius and middle bronze denominations. The empress may appear bare-headed, wearing a strand of pearls, or wearing a strand of pearls and a stephane.

    Faustina Jr LAETITIAE PVBLICAE denarius.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.03 g, 17.4 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 147-149.
    Obv: FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: LAETITIAE PVBLICAE, Laetitia standing left, holding wreath in in right hand and vertical scepter in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 506a; BMCRE 1048; Cohen/RSC 155; Strack 491; RCV 4705; CRE 195.

    Laetitia appears a second time* on this large issue, issued under Marcus Aurelius AD 161-165. The issue possibly refers to the birth of M. Annius Verus in AD 162, but this is far from certain. It was issued in the aureus, denarius, sestertius and middle bronze denominations. Not only may the empress appear bare-headed, wearing a double strand of pearls or a stephane, but Laetitia may appear standing right or left, with mirror-image reverse types. The left-facing type is by far the more common of the two. Here are examples from my own collection.

    Denarius:

    [​IMG]
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 2.60 g, 17 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 161-165.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, wearing a double strand of pearls.
    Rev: LAETITIA, Laetitia standing facing, head left, holding wreath and scepter.
    Refs: RIC 700; BMCRE --; Cohen 147; RCV 5258 var; CRE 197.

    Sestertius:

    [​IMG]
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.87 g, 32.5 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161-165.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Faustina II, right, with a double strand of pearls in the hair.
    Rev: LAETITIA S C, Laetitia standing facing, head left, holding wreath in right hand and vertical scepter in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 1654; BMCRE 924-27; Cohen 149; RCV 5279; MIR 21-6/10b.

    Faustina Jr LAETITIA S C standing right sestertius Kuenker.JPG
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.69 g, 32 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161-165.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Faustina II, right, with a double strand of pearls in the hair.
    Rev: LAETITIA S C, Laetitia standing facing, head right, holding vertical scepter in right hand and wreath in left hand.
    Refs: RIC --; BMCRE --; Cohen --; RCV --; MIR 21-6/10b.
    Notes: Künker eLive auction 63, lot 35, 30.11.2020; known examples limited to: Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung (Auction 200), 10.10.2011, lot 2612; Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung (Auction 164), 17.3.2008, lot 411; Auktionshaus H. D. Rauch GmbH (Auction 81), 21.11.2007, lot 426; and MIR cites a specimen in Paris.

    Middle Bronze:

    [​IMG]
    Faustina II, AD 147-176.
    Roman Æ dupondius or as, 10.80 g, 24.7 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161-166.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Faustina II, right, with double strand of pearls.
    Rev: LAETITIA S C, Laetitia standing facing, head left, holding wreath in right hand and vertical scepter in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 1656; BMCRE 988; Cohen 151 var. (pearls); RCV --; MIR21-7/10b.

    [​IMG]
    Faustina II, AD 147-176.
    Roman Æ dupondius or as, 8.77 g, 24.7 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161-176.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Faustina II, right, with band of pearls.
    Rev: LAETITIA S C, Laetitia standing facing, head right, holding vertical scepter in right hand and wreath in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 1657 var. (pearls); BMCRE 987; Cohen 152 var. (pearls); RCV 5300; MIR22-7/10b.
    Notes: BMCRE 987 describes the coin having a double strand of pearls, but there is no sign of the pearl bands on the actual coin.

    ~~~

    *The fourrée denarius with the LAETITIA PVB reverse inscription in the BnF noted by Cohen (p. 148, no. 153) and in turn cited by RIC (703) and BMCRE (p.402n*) appears nowhere else and is almost certainly unofficial, if it exists at all.

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  3. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    Nice summary, here's a standing right denarius:

    Faustina_II_R802.jpg

    Faustina II, Denar
    Obv.: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, Bust of Faustina II, bare-headed, hair waved and fastened in a bun on back of head, draped, right
    Rev.: LAETITIA, Laetitia, draped, standing right, holding wreath in right hand and sceptre in left hand
    Ref.: RIC III, p.270, 702; CRE199
     
  4. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Nice post, RC. I have a Gordy III sestertius with Laetitia standing left:

    9942E045-B486-4E2E-95B7-E53B7536A297.jpeg
     
  5. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I do enjoy Faustina Friday. Great write up & coins, as always.

    Laetitia, I have but two, a denarius and a sestertius - my denarius attribution may be off (RIC 506b? Pearls?) - I did it a couple years ago when I was greener than I am nowadays:

    Faustina II - Sest. LAETITIA Feb 2018 (0).jpg
    Faustina II Æ Sestertius
    (161-176 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [FA]VSTINA AV[GVSTA], draped bust right, double circlet of pearls / L[AETITI]A S C, Laetitia standing left holding wreath and scepter.
    RIC 1654; Sear 5279
    (26.54 grams / 31 mm)

    Faustina II - Laetitia den Apr 2018 (0).jpg
    Faustina II the Younger
    (147-175 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right with double circlet of pearls /
    LAETITIAE PVBLICAE, Laetitia standing left, holding wreath and sceptre.
    RIC 506b; RSC 155a.
    (2.95 grams / 18 mm)
     
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