My third Orbiana Sestertius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, Mar 26, 2020 at 5:48 PM.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    I am happy that my final purchase before the shutdown arrived safely today.

    This is my third Sestertius of this type but the first one that will be a keeper as it combines a handsome portrait with a high relief obverse and clean surfaces. I can live with the scratch as it does not affect the bust and adds a little individuality to the coin.


    SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG - Diademed and draped bust of Orbiana right
    CONCORDIA AVGVSTORVM S C - Concordia enthroned left, holding patera in right and double cornucopiae in left arm
    Sestertius, Rome 225 a.d.
    30 mm / 21,84 gr
    RIC 655, BMCRE 293, Cohen 4, Sear 8193, Banti 1 (82 specimens)
    ex Gorny & Mosch Auction 270 (12.03.2020), lot 2551


    Gnaea Seia Sallustia Barbia Orbiana, daughter of the aristocrat Seius Sallustius Varius Macrinus, was known as one of the most handsome women ever to grace the imperial throne. She was married to sixteen year old emperor Severus Alexander at Rome on August 28, 225.
    The genuine affection the young couple had for a one another was more than the senior Augusta, Alexander´s jealous mother Julia Mamaea, was willing to tolerate, and Orbiana was banished to Libya a mere two years later.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020 at 2:46 AM
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  3. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    Nice...very "honest" looking coin! ;) I agree, the scratch is endearing. Boy, that old bitch Julia,...sheesh! :rolleyes::joyful:
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  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    A very nice coin, @Julius Germanicus. I think the portrait resembles (including in her hairstyle) the one on my Sallustia Orbiana denarius. The reverse is similar as well, at least in conception:

    Sallustia Orbiana (wife of Severus Alexander) AR Denarius 225-227 AD. Rome mint. Special marriage emission of Severus Alexander, AD 225. Obv: SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG, Draped bust right, wearing stephane/ Rev: CONCORDIA AVGG, Concordia seated left, holding patera and double cornucopiae. RIC IV-2 319 (Sev. Alexander); RSC III 1, BMCRE 287 (Sev. Alexander). 19 mm., 3.5 g.

    jpg version Sallustia Orbiana. Augusta, AD 225-227. AR Denarius.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 8:35 PM
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    A lovely coin with a cute portrait! My sestertius is of the other reverse type:

    Orbiana, wife of Severus Alexander, Augusta AD 225-227.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 20.02 g, 28.6 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, special marriage issue, AD 225.
    Obv: SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG, diademed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA AVGVSTORVM S C, Severus Alexander, togate, standing right, holding scroll in left hand and clasping right hands with Orbiana, veiled and draped, standing left.
    Refs: RIC 657; BMCRE 301; Cohen 6; RCV 8194; Banti 3.
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  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter


    (with a name like hers, I thought that maybe she was a "round" individual. :) )

    RI Orbiana w Severus Alexander Augusta 225-227 CE Æ AS 23 mm 8.75g Rome Concordia patera double cornucopiae RIC 656
  7. Nice coins all. I guess I need an Orbiana - she was a cutey indeed!

    Needed to be more careful with the mother-in-law, but Oh well!
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That mother-in-law be givin' you the stink eye!

    Image by @Jasper Burns
  9. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    I like the quite sour expression of the bride on your Denarius (probably thinking of her mother-in-law :) )

    The reverse does of course look similar to mine because CONCORDIA AVGG was the only reverse struck for Orbiana at the Rome mint (the same depiction of Concordia seated with two Cornucopiae is not only found on all her Denarii and most Sestertii, but also on all her Aurei, Quinarii and Asses). The only exception are the Sestertii that show Alexander and Orbiana shaking hands and the output of the mints in the provinces that seem to have had more interest in the young bride than the imperial mint itself.

    So if this was a "Special Mariage Emission" in mid 225, then it was at the same time also the only emission for Orbiana at Rome, as nothing different was struck at the capital until her downfall two year. It also must have been a quite huge emission as we can estimate from the number of Sestertii listed by Banti and the fact that coins of Orbiana are not rare as such (but collectible nevertheless as they are much scarcer than any of the Severan Julias).

    I must admit that I would have loved to acquire a coin of that type instead because the Concordia seated type is quite generic while your coin may show the actual wedding ceremony.
    But those go for at least twice the price of the more common type and I have never seen one that a liked AND was able and willing to afford.

    These middle bronzes must be very hard to find compared to Sestertii, but as they are not listed by Banti and were not hoarded at Guelma, we will never be able to tell.

    By the way, here are my first and second Sestertii of Orbiana and I hope you agree that my newbie is an upgrade to both:

    Bildschirmfoto 2018-06-05 um 18.57.24.png

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-08-14 um 09.23.40.png
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  10. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I believe my as is a reverse die-match to yours. The obverse is very similar, but with slight differences in the lettering. I'm sure it was engraved by the same hand as yours, though.

    Orbiana Concordia As.jpg
  11. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    A cute chick for sure !

    Orbiana, Denarius - Rome mint, AD 225
    SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG, diademed and draped bust right
    CONCORDIA AVGG, Concordia seated left on throne, holding double cornucopia and patera
    3.08 gr
    Ref : RSC # 1, Cohen # 1, RCV # 8191, RIC # 319

  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Way cool! Thanks for the observation.
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  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Yes, I realized how pointless my comment about the similar reverses was after I posted it, and went and looked up the coins of Orbiana and realized that they almost all had that same reverse.

    As far as the marriage emission issue is concerned, Sear does state (RCV II at p. 675) that "[c]oinage in the name of Orbiana is by no means plentiful and seems to have been confined to the actual occasion of the marriage."

    And if she did have a sour look on her face on my coin (I don't see it that way!) because of her mother-in-law, don't forget that it proved justified not only by her own exile to Libya, but by Julia Mamaea's arranging for the execution of Orbiana's father, the aristocrat Seius Sallustius Varius Macrinus, on charges of high treason based on an accusation that he had plotted to seize the throne for himself.
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