Roman Empire: bronze sestertius of Antoninus Pius, struck ca. 159 AD

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lordmarcovan, Aug 13, 2019.


How interesting/appealing do you find this coin, whether or not you're an expert? (1=worst, 10=best)

  1. 10

    4 vote(s)
  2. 9

    7 vote(s)
  3. 8

    11 vote(s)
  4. 7

    20 vote(s)
  5. 6

    6 vote(s)
  6. 5

    1 vote(s)
  7. 4

    1 vote(s)
  8. 3

    0 vote(s)
  9. 2

    0 vote(s)
  10. 1

    0 vote(s)
  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Roman Empire: bronze sestertius of Antoninus Pius, struck ca. 159 AD


    Obverse: ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS PP TR P XXII, laureate head right.
    Reverse: VOTA SVSCEP DECENN III COS IIII, veiled emperor left, standing and sacrificing at flaming tripod, S-C in field, COS IIII in exergue.
    Issuing authority: Antoninus Pius, Roman emperor (138-161 AD).
    Composition, diameter, weight: Bronze, 26.9 g.
    Grade, certification: VF.
    Reference attribution: RIC 1010, Cohen 1124 (per Münzenhandlung Manfred Olding).
    Provenance: Ex-Münzenhandlung Manfred Olding, Osnabrück, Germany, 8 May 2019.* Prior provenance to Heynen and Reusing/Schürer collections.

    Notes: Attractive, contrasting brown patina with nice surfaces. The tribunician (TR P XII) and consular (COS IIII) inscriptions date this coin to circa 159 AD.

    Antoninus Pius is considered one of Rome's "Five Good Emperors", having ruled during a time of relative peace and prosperity for the Empire.

    Additional images:


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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's a lovely coin with a lot going for it. It is well-centered, has complete legends, and smooth surfaces. The only strike against it is its grade. This doesn't bother me as it's to be expected with Antonine sestertii. The economy flourished in the mid-second century and coins circulated extensively.

    Just be careful to properly attribute this coin. The reverse doesn't say what you think it does. It actually reads VOTA SVSCEPTA DEC III. This marks it as BMC 2068-2069. Here's the BMC plate coin (2069):


    ... and the listing in BMC4:


    The coin with the longer VOTA SVSCEPTA DECENN III inscription is BMC 2070.

    Looking at RIC, your coin is RIC 1010; the coin with the longer inscription is RIC 1011.

    Capture 1.JPG

    The listings in Cohen for this reverse type are as follows:

    Capture 2.JPG

    Because yours has the TR P XXII obverse legend and is a laureate HEAD, not a bust, it's Cohen 1124. BMC and RIC do not note the existence of a laureate bust, but only a laureate head.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Thanks. I'll read that and correct accordingly, later, when I'm not coming off an overnight shift and thus down to only 1.5 functional brain cells.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  5. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    That was an impressively detailed breakdown on the attribution!

    I must confess that that part is my Achilles heel. It gives me headaches. I guess some folks revel in it, and more power to 'em. It's a chore for me.
    Paul M. likes this.
  6. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    @lordmarcovan Nice coin. I inherited some Roman coins from my
    grand father when I was a child. Most of them from the Constantine
    era give or take a ruler.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    You're close! You've got the catalog numbers right; it's the description of the reverse inscription that is in error.
    lordmarcovan and Paul M. like this.
  8. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    It looks like you've got a nice sestertius :). The portrait is excellent & the attractive patina highlights the details. I'm no expert in grading ancient coins but would grade the coin Fine +.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  9. Archeocultura

    Archeocultura Well-Known Member

    This is an interesting variant of the same coin with a bare bust with drapery on the far shoulder and a fold of cloak in the neck.
    III Antoninus Pius 1010var Vota sest.jpg
  10. Archeocultura

    Archeocultura Well-Known Member

    BTW Without the drapery I would say that Pius' bare HEAD is shown. To me a bare bust would be something where part of the chest is shown, like on some coins of Hadrian.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I suspect that is what Cohen described as 1126.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  12. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    10/10 for me, great appearance and detail, and a key coin to represent a long and peaceful reign. He never made it to the 30 year mark to pay off his pledge to the gods, but even a 20 year reign was an achievement considering the fate of many other emperors.
    Theodosius and lordmarcovan like this.
  13. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    Any flaw I can find with this coin is basically nitpicking. You have a nice coin with excellent centering and some honest wear. If it were mine, the only things I could possibly even ask for are more of the letters on flan (even though they are fully readable, having the full letters just makes it that much easier), and a higher grade. Other than that, I think @Roman Collector's post pretty much covers it for me.

    If you ever intend to get into Antonine silver coinage, you should definitely find a copy of Cohen and the Reka Devnia Hoard book. Using these 2 together, you can get a much better idea of the rarity of 2nd century silver than any other single reference I know of gives you.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  14. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    I gave it a perfect 10, because in my oppinion this coin is not only of fine style and free of problems, but in featuring the most attractive type of toning (light bown with contrasting highlights) in terms of pure eye appeal (at least in my eyes) stands out over 99 % of all Sestertii found on Ebay and 90 % of those found in auctions (I should know, because I have been looking for Sestertii of exactly this appearence for years, and wish all of mine would have this quality). Congrats, I wish it was mine!
    lordmarcovan and galba68 like this.
  15. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    I agree with pretty much everything you said here, except that pretty much nothing gets a perfect 10 IMO. ;)
  16. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    What about Emily Ratajkowski?
    Curtisimo likes this.
  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Nope. (Had to look her up. Had never heard of her.)
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