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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |History| ▸ |Historic Women||View Options:  |  |  |   

Historic Women on Coins

Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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Laetitia is the Roman goddess of gaiety and joy, her name deriving from the root word laeta, meaning happy. She is typically depicted on coinage with a wreath in her right hand, and a scepter, a rudder, or an anchor in her left hand. On the coins of empresses, Laetitia may signal a birth in the Imperial family.
SH93043. Gold aureus, Calic 2066 (same rev. die); RIC III MA699; BMCRE IV MA129 note; Cohen III 146; SRCV II 5242; Hunter II -, gVF, light marks on edge, weight 6.763 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right, hair in bun at the back; reverse LAETITIA, Laetitia standing facing, wreath in right hand, long scepter in left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 80 (04 Aug 2019), lot 563; ex Roma Numismatics 14 (27 Jan 2019), lot 761; Numismatica Ars Classica auction 106 (09 May 2018), lot 973; ex Roma Numismatics sale XIV (21 Sep 2017), 761 (realized 4,600 plus fees); extremely rare; $5200.00 (4576.00)


Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2160.00 (1900.80)


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C.

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Cleopatra VII originally shared power with her father Ptolemy XII and later with her brother-husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Her relationship with Julius Caesar led to sole rule. After Caesar's assassination, she aligned with Mark Antony. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
SL93404. Bronze diobol, Svoronos 1871; Weiser 183; Noeske 380; SNG Cop 419; SNG Milan 428; BMC Ptolemies p. 123, 4; Hosking 166 (obol); Malter 284; SGCV II 7955, NGC Ch F, strike 4/5, surface 5/5 (2416171-006), weight 20.612 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 50 - 31 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra right, with characteristic melon coif hairstyle; reverse KΛEOΠATPAΣ BAXIΛICCHC, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, cornucopia left, Π (80 drachms) right; from the Errett Bishop Collection, ex Numismatic Art and Ancient Coins; $1200.00 (1056.00)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Caracalla and Geta Reverse

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When Severus died in 211, Julia became the mediator between their two quarreling sons, Caracalla and Geta, who were to rule as joint emperors. Caracalla convinced his mother to call Geta for a reconciliation meeting in her residence. It was a trick. In his mother's house, Caracalla's soldiers attacked and Geta died in their mother's arms. afterward, Julia's relationship with Caracalla was understandably difficult. Nevertheless, she accompanied him on his Parthian campaign in 217. During this trip, Caracalla was assassinated, after which Julia committed suicide. Her body was brought to Rome and she was later deified.
SL89751. Silver denarius, RIC IV S541 (R3); RSC III p. 61, JCG3; BMCRE V p. 158, S6; SRCV II 6534 var. (boys draped); Hunter III -, NGC Ch VF, strike 4/5, surface 2/5 (2490384-010), weight 3.071 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 201 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse AETERNIT IMPERI, confronted heads of Caracalla, on left, laureate right, and Geta, on right, bare head left; ex Lanz auction 163 (7 Dec 2016), lot 364 (unsold with an estimate of €1500); very rare; $950.00 (836.00)


Judaea (Yehudah), Ptolemaic Rule, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, 285 - 246 B.C.

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Ptolemy II encouraged education, commerce, industry, immigration and trade resulting in a prosperous growing economy and making him the richest monarch of his age. His 112 ships comprised the most powerful fleet that had ever existed. His splendid court compares with the Versailles of Louis XIV. An enthusiast for Hellenic culture, he also adopted Egyptian religious concepts bolstering his image as a pharaoh. At the Library at Alexandria, Jewish texts were translated and transcribed by seventy Jewish scholars, creating the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible. He defeated the Seleucids in the first Syrian War, gaining control of western Cilicia, southern Lycia, Caunus, Halicarnassus, Myndus, Cnidus, probably Miletus, all of Phoenicia, and even part of Syria.
GS94060. Silver quarter ma'ah, Hendin 1081; Meshorer TJC 33; Mildenberg Yehud pl. 22, 26; Gitler-Lorber II, group 6, pl. 1, 10, aF, obverse off flan, weight 0.162 g, maximum diameter 5.7 mm, c. 283 - 270 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of either Ptolemy I right; reverse head of Berenike I right, Hebrew inscription downward on right: YHD; very rare; $800.00 (704.00)


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

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For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).
RB92463. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, well centered on a squared flan, light bumps and scratches, weight 26.206 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 330o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, right hand extended over flaming altar at feet on left, incense box in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $500.00 (440.00)


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C.

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Octavian decisively defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in September 31 B.C. He chased them to Egypt in 30 B.C., where Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Octavian became master of the Roman world. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era in the eastern Mediterranean. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
GP94045. Billon tetradrachm, Svoronos 1835, SNG Cop 417, Hosking 164, Noeske 379, Weiser -, SNG Milan -, Malter -, F, bumps and marks, porosity, weight 13.349 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 31 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, wearing aegis; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed, LKB (year 22) over crown of Isis left, ΠA right; rare final year; $350.00 (308.00)


Plotina, Augusta 105 - 129 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Plotina was the wife of Trajan, married to him before his succession. She was renowned for her virtue and simplicity. In 100, Trajan awarded her with the title of Augusta, but she did not accept the title until 105. Plotina did not appear on the coinage until 112. She was largely responsible for Hadrian's succession to the throne after the death of Trajan. Plotina died in 129 A.D.
SH79967. Bronze AE 24, RPC Online III 645, SNG Evelpidis 1170, Lindgren 980, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, BMC Macedonia -, Varbanov -, F, green patina, pitting, weight 9.487 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 105 - 129 A.D.; obverse CEBACTH ΠΛWTEINA, draped bust right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛTWN, Tyche seated left, patera in right hand; very rare; $320.00 (281.60)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RS89455. Silver denarius, RIC IV S534 (S); RSC III 42; BMCRE V p. 27, W46; SRCV II 6580; Hunter III -, VF/F, excellent portrait, toned, flaw on reverse, small edge cracks, weight 2.934 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 195 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, large chignon at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Fecunditas seated right on throne, holding child in her arms, another child at her feet on right, standing left; very rare; $270.00 (237.60)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta, her sacred flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins. In 394, by order of the Christian emperor Theodosius I in his campaign to eliminate pagan practices in Rome, the fire of Vesta was extinguished.
RB91372. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV p. 123, 492; RIC IV p. 207, 843 (R); Hunter III 42; Cohen IV 222; SRCV II 6632, VF, well centered, porous, corrosion, rough areas, weight 23.018 g, maximum diameter 30.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 193 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bare-headed bust right, hair in waved horizontal ridges; reverse VESTA, Vest seated left on throne, palladium in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) divided low across field; from a New England dealer; rare; $200.00 (176.00)




  



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