First coin of 2022: Septimius Severus Sestertius - SAECVLI FELICITAS

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, May 25, 2022.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    I have been a lazy buyer lately because my Sestertius collection is basically complete now and the rise in prices keeps me from getting substantial upgrades.

    I got this, my third Sestertius of Septimius Severus, exclusively for the nice early portrait:

    Bildschirmfoto 2022-05-25 um 23.17.57.png
    Diademed Felicitas standing left, wearing Tunica and Palla, right foot on prow, holding caduceus in right and cornucopiua in left hand
    Sestertius, Rome 195 A.D.
    31,5 mm / 23,53 gr / 12 h
    RIC 692 a, BMCRE 560, Cohen 630, CSS 163, Sear 6439, Banti 145 (3 specimens, same dies as illustrated)

    The reverse of my coin, promoting Saeculi Felicitas, the “Age of Happiness”, is actually a restoration type first used by Commodus on Aurei of his final year in AD 192.

    The Caduceus, a short staff entwined by two serpents, is the main attribute of Felicitas and symbolizes general well-being and economic prosperity, while the cornucopia also carried by Felicitas here is the main attribute of Fortuna, hence the same figure is named as Fortuna Felix on Commodus´ coins.

    The ship 's prow under Felicitas´ foot is to be understood as a reference to the abundance which navigation procures to the state.

    There is also a variety of this Sestertius showing Septimius with drapery on neck and shoulder (Banti 146).

    A later version (IMP VII) showing the same depiction of Felicitas used the reverse legend DIVI M PII F P M TR P III COS II P P instead of naming Saeculi Felicitas (RIC 701, Banti 32).

    Both versions of the legend were also used on corresponding Dupondii (RIC 712 and 698 respectively) of Severus.

    Please show your Sestertii of Septimius Severus, Saeculi Felicitas, or anything of interest!
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  3. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Very nice sestertius @Julius Germanicus! I have a similar but not anywhere as nice as yours.

    Septimius Severus, Rome, AE sestertius, AD 195.
    Obv: L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP V, laureate head right.
    Rev: SAECVLI FELICITAS, Felicitas standing left, foot on prow, holding caduceus and cornucopiae. S-C across fields.
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  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    J.G., Congrats on scoring a handsome sestertius, the portrait is the finest for the type :happy:! All sestertii of Severus are scarce to rare & expensive ;). Nearly all of his sestertii that I've seen have a weak or problem reverse ;). I've posted my only sestertius a number of time already :meh:, but will answer your "call to arms" :D. I'll also post my only denarius of Severus too.

    Septimius Severus AE Sestertius (3).jpg

    1883246-009, AK Collection.jpg
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  5. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    sestertius of his wife - Julia Domna...

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  6. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Great coin (and coins) - I need to get a few Severan bronzes too.
    Here is my only SAECVLI FELICITAS coin, a Maesa denarius

    Julia Maesa (grandmother of Elagabalus) AR Denarius Rome, ca 218-222
    IVLIA MAESA AVG - draped bust to right
    Rev: SAECVLI FELICITAS - Felicitas standing to left, holding long caduceus and sacrificing over lighted altar; in left field, star.
    RIC IV 272 (Elagabalus); BMCRE 81-82 (Elagabalus); RSC 45b
    2,27 g, 20 mm
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  7. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    This is the same emission as my coin, only from a different pair of dies. I am sure curtislclay could share interesting information about the number of dies and die matches in his unpublished dissertation.
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  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Great sestertii of Severus. I actually have never seen one for sale.
  9. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    Jul. Germanicus' sestertius is cat. 1137 in my thesis, dies 202/298.

    In 1972 I knew only one specimen, Cahn 71, Oct. 1931, lot 1714, which I expect will be the same coin illustrated by Banti.
  10. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Thank you Curtis for the info! Yes, the coin listed in your thesis is exactly the coin Banti illustrates.
  11. Edessa

    Edessa Well-Known Member

    Septimius Severus, AD 193-211. Æ Sestertius (30mm, 18.94g, 6h). Rome mint, struck AD 195-196. Obv: [L SE]PT SEV PE-RT AVG IMP [VII]; Laureate bust right, slight drapery. Rev: P M TR P III COS II P P; Fortuna standing left, holding rudder set on globe and cornucopia; S-C across lower field. Ref: RIC IV 706a; Banti 92. Fine, nice apple green patina.
  12. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Al!

    Your Sestertius is an exception to the rule because obverse and reverse are both well stricken and well centred on a full flan with complete legends and nicely preserved all around. Plus it comes with the added bonus of special bust type AND an interesting reverse design! If I had a Septimius Sestertius like that, I would only need one...

    My second specimen also shares that cuirassed bust with an historic reverse (even thougt I must confess that I like your Africa with lion type even more - I would also want a Munificentia with elephant, but those are very rare and expensive in an acceptable state), BUT it is a compromise due to the weaker portrait, odd flan shape and partly missing legends.

    Bildschirmfoto 2022-05-27 um 08.30.58.png
    L SEPT SEV PE-RT AVG IMP VIII – Laureate and cuirassed bust of Septimius Severus right, seen 3/4 from behind
    ADVENTVI AVG FELICISSIMO S C - Septimius Severus, in military attire, on horse prancing right, raising right hand in salute; in front helmeted figure advancing right, looking left, leading the emperor´s horse by holding it´s bridle in right hand and vexillum in left hand
    Sestertius, Rome 196 aD.
    32,9 mm / 19,06 gr
    RIC 719c (R2); BMCRE 596; Cohen 8 var. (draped and cuirassed, 25 F), CSS 227; Sear 6403, Banti 4 (26 specimens)
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  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    J.G., It should be mentioned that collectors who can't afford the large sestertii from the Rome Mint can always hunt for medium size bronze coins struck at the provincial mints, some of these coins are truly handsome & not very expensive. The Thracian bronze pictured below cost me only $258.00 at auction about 6 years ago.
    NGC 4100535-024, slab insert.jpg NGC 4100535-024, $258.50, 9-12-2016 - Copy.jpg

    The Rome Mint didn't strike silver coins of Severus larger than the denarius for regular circulation, so if collectors are hunting for large silver coins the provincial mints offer a nice selection to choose from :happy:. I won the coin pictured below at a Nomos AG auction about 5 years ago.

    Septimius Severus, Prieur 1141, AWK Collection.jpg
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