New rare Hadrian Sestertius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Here is my second catch from the new cgb.fr fixed price catalogue:

    This Sestertius does not only fit my love for unpatinated yellow brass, but it also features a rare left-facing portrait plus an interesting reverse (that is, however, very worn).

    Also this particular variant (portrait left without drapery, galley sailing to the right) is of great rarity. It seems to be unlisted in all the major references and I found no other specimen on AC search or Wildwinds.

    P2110253.jpg

    HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS - Laureate bust of Hadrian left
    (FELICITATI AVG S C) COS III P P - Galley moving right over waves with six rowers, steersman at the rear, and mast with sail at the bow
    Sestertius, Rome 132-134
    30,5 mm - 23,85 gr
    RIC -, Cohen -, BMCR -, Sear -

    P2110256.jpg

    Please let me know if there are any references to this type or other specimens that you know of.

    Also show your galleys if you have them!
     
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  3. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter** Supporter

    Nice coin. The portrait is still all there, and as you say left facing is relatively uncommon.
    I did find these two facing left without drapery:

    1976128.jpg 2200695.jpg
     
  4. Macromius

    Macromius Rarely On The Internet

    Nice coin but Hadrian's ear looks askew. Tooled?
     
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  5. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Good catch, Julius , but I have no idear about a RIC number.
    The mast & sail is a vexillum , a roman flag. I can vaguely see a legionnary standard next to it.
    vexillum.jpg

    Here's my sestertius with 2 legionnary standards at the back of the galley.

    sestertius.jpg
     
  6. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    These sestertii are part of Hadrian's "Travel Series" even though they don't illustrate specific countries and animals. Hadrian's sestertii, even worn ones, typically have good centering as well as artistic obverses and reverses. All of the coins in this thread are great examples of his bronzes.
     
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  7. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great addition to your un patinated collection, although worn still has good detail. I have an un patinated sestertius galley as well. 2015-01-07 01.08.08-8.jpg
     
  8. Okidoki

    Okidoki Supporter! Supporter

    D01E8B3B-1540-49D4-8062-86715DFFEE3D.jpeg Nice catch here is mine
    Reference
    RIC 706; Strack 837; C. 657; Banti 337

    Obv. HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS
    Laureate head right.

    Rev. FELICITATI AVG COS III P P S-C in field
    Galley moving left with Hortator and five rowers; vexillum on prow.

    23.61 gr
    31 mm
    12h


    Note.
    An acrostolium is an ornamental extension of the stem post on the prow of an ancient warship. Often used as a symbol of victory or of power at sea. (numiswiki)
    1st-4th Century AD:
    The Ship in Imperial Rome

    Realizing its importance, Augustus established the Roman navy along lines similar to that of the legions. In addition to a number of key harbors, from which ships could be deployed, he stationed several fleets (Latin classes) in key areas throughout the empire. Among these, the classis Britannica patrolled the channel between Gaul and Britannia, protecting the shipping lanes. Its strategic regional importance is commemorated in the coinage of several of the period usurpers from the area. M. Aurelius Postumus was the first to do so (lots 676-679). His bronze ship issues carry the legend LAETITIA AVG, emphasizing the source of imperial well-being resides in a strong navy. The usurper M. Aurelius Carausius, commander of the classis Britannica under Diocletian, struck coins commemorating, in part, his control of that fleet and its abilities in keeping the sea lanes open (lot 680). His short-lived successor, Allectus, continued the type (lots 681-684).

    One important function of the navy was the transportation of the imperial family on state visits. From the time of Augustus, vessels were dispatched to carry the emperor between the capital and the provinces. One such instance is commemorated in a rare bronze as, struck at Patrae in AD 66/7 (lot 609). The reverse depicts the quinquereme used to carry Nero on his infamous tour of Greece. Hadrian’s extensive travels were recorded with a wide variety of ship types struck at Rome (lots 610-622), and in the East (lot 623). An inscription from Ephesus (Syll. III 3241), records that a local captain, L. Erastus, used his ship to transport the emperor while he was in that area. A coin struck at Alexandria (lot 624) is of particular importance for, in the same year as the coin was struck Antinoüs drowned as the imperial party was sailing up the Nile. Hadrian’s successors continued to travel, now to shore up border conflicts or prepare for one of the periodic wars with Persia (lots 625-627; 631-675). By the middle of the third century AD local issues, rather than those minted at the imperial capital, recorded these events, a sign that the center of power was drifting away from Rome itself.

    Warships were not the exclusive vessel of the Roman navy. Providing the empire with an uninterrupted supply of grain, as well as other necessary supplies, necessitated the construction of ship for such a purpose. Unlike the warship, which required speed and strength for ramming, the merchantman (Greek nau~ stroggulh; Latin navis oneraria) was of broader beam. Many of these vessels, like the ponto or more common actuaria resembled the shape of a trireme and could be powered by both oars and sails. Since ships of this type were used to transport vital commodities such as wine and grain, they, like the large ponto, are often those shown on coins from the Black Sea (lots 655 and 664-666). The great Roman merchantman, or corbita, often seen in part on imperial issues commemorating the annona, is more familiar (lots 607-608). Powered by two large sails, it featured a rear cabin in the shape of a swan and was the true workhorse of Roman merchant vessels; its type continued well into the Byzantine period.
     
  9. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Great left portraits, from different dies. The galley on my coin is heading to the other direction, though.

    I fear that there has also been some "work" done on Hadrian´s neck, on the lower part of the galley, and on the reverse rim of the coin...

    Thank you for the info!!!

    I did not know that and I always wanted to have a "travel" Sestertius of his :). Hadrian must have used different kinds of boats as some are shown with and some without masts.

    Wow!!! That is a great writeup on Imperial boat travel!!! And your Sestertius puts mine to shame!
     
  10. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Update:

    After some interesting correspondence with the experts I can now identify my new Hadrian:

    This is actually RIC 703k. The reverse is FELICITATI AVG on top, S C left and right of the boat , COS III P P below; in the cabin on the left side of the boat there is the emperor as steersman, sitting right and lifting his right hand greeting, in the center there are seven rowers, and on the bow to the right there is a small sail on a tilted mast.

    My coin is apparently the third known specimen of it´s kind (all seemingly from the same pair of dies):

    The first has been in the collection of the Bibliotheque National in Paris since at least the 18th Century. It is cited by Cohen (Nr.689), RIC (703k), and BMC (Footnote p.451, 1392).

    The second coin surfaced in the 1931 Ratto Sale ("Roma Imperiale nelle Monete di Adriano et di sua famiglia") and is illustrated in Cayon ("Sestercios del Imperio Romano", Nr. 689).

    Here is the Paris coin:
    Bildschirmfoto 2018-01-18 um 16.17.43.png
    Bildschirmfoto 2018-01-18 um 16.17.52.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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