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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Personifications| ▸ |Hope||View Options:  |  |  |   

Hope and Fate (Elpis or Spes)

Elpis to the Greeks, or Spes to the Romans, was the personification of Hope. According the Hesiod's famous story, Elpis was the last to escape the Pandora's box. It can be debated whether she was really about "hope" as we understand it, or rather mere "expectation." In art, Hope is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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The obverse bust is in sculptural relief, quite different than a regular Trajan sestertius. Bernard Woytek's recent study of the coinage of Hadrian cites only five specimens. He includes a note reiterating Toynbee's classification of them as "medallic coins" that seem to employ medallion dies (although this obverse die is apparently unknown for a medallion), or at the very least were intended as to give the coins a medallic look.
SH63645. Orichalcum medallic sestertius, Toynbee pl. 20, 10; Woytek 338u; BMCRE III 811A; RIC II 519; Cohen II 459; SRCV II 3200; Cayon -, VF, obverse die of particularly fine style, weight 21.846 g, maximum diameter 33.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 109 - 110 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate and draped half-bust right, wearing aegis; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Spes advancing left, raising flower in right hand, raising drapery with left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; very rare; SOLD


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.

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Spes is the personification of hope and the reverse legend translates, Hope of the Augusta. In 42 A.D., when this coin was struck, Antonia, Claudius' mother, and Livia were the only women who had ever held the title Augusta.

The face of Spes, visible on high grade examples of this type, might be that of Antonia.
SH63635. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 115, BMCRE I 192, SRCV I 1854, gVF, weight 28.372 g, maximum diameter 37.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 42 - 43 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head right; reverse SPES AVGVSTA, Spes standing, head left, flower in right, lifting skirt drapery with left, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; good style dies, ex Jencek Historical Enterprise; SOLD


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.

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"Nobody is familiar with his own profile, and it comes as a shock, when one sees it in a portrait, that one really looks like that to people standing beside one. For one's full face, because of the familiarity that mirrors give it, a certain toleration and even affection is felt; but I must say that when I first saw the model of the gold piece that the mint-masters were striking for me I grew angry and asked whether it was intended to be a caricature. My little head with its worried face perched on my long neck, and the Adam's apple standing out almost like a second chin, shocked me. But Messalina said: "No, my dear, that's really what you look like. In fact, it is rather flattering than otherwise." -- From the novel "Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina" by Robert Graves
SH57736. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 99, SRCV I 1853, BMCRE I 124, Cohen I 85, gVF, weight 25.647 g, maximum diameter 34.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 41 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, laureate head right; reverse SPES AVGVSTA S C, Spes walking left, flower in right hand, raising fold of chiton with left; good style first issue portrait; SOLD


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.

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R. F. Kenyon in "The countermark PROB on coins of Claudius from Britain" (NC 148, 1988) writes that the PROB countermark, which was applied only to sestertii of Claudius, can be expanded to PROBatum, meaning "approved." The Claudian sestertii bearing this countermark are found almost exclusively in Britain and Italy. His study did not find shared punches between any coins with known provenances from Britain and Italy, suggesting that the Claudian sestertii circulating in Britain were countermarked there. The countermarks were carefully applied, always in the right obverse field and never overlapping the imperial portrait. Coins were countermarked before they had seen much, if any, circulation.
SH85461. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 99; BMCRE I 124; SRCV I 1853; Cohen I 85; c/m: Kenyon 1 - 7 (same coin type, same placement), Pangerl 23 (Gallia), Martini 40, Choice VF, c/m: EF; Tiber toning, bumps and scratches, light corrosion, reverse double struck, weight 25.951 g, maximum diameter 36.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 42 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP, laureate head right, countermark: PROB in a rectangular punch; reverse SPES AVGVSTA, Spes walking left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare countermark; SOLD


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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In 163, the Roman general Statius Priscus reconquered Armenia. Artaxata was ruined.

According to Cassius Dio when Avidius Cassius (the governor of Egypt and Syria) was declared emperor by his legions in 175 A.D., it was Priscus who informed Emperor Aurelius. Cassius declared himself emperor at the behest of Aurelius' wife who convinced Cassius and his legions that the emperor had died. Aurelius quickly defeated Cassius and installed Priscus as governor of Syria.
SH53591. Silver denarius, RIC III 59, RSC II 37, BMCRE IV 209, Hunter II 11, SRCV II -, FDC, bold, sharp, fine style, light iridescent toning on sparkling mint luster, weight 3.399 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 162 - Dec 163 A.D.; obverse IMP M ANTONINVS AVG, bare head right; reverse CONCORDIA AVG (harmony of the Emperor) TR P XVII, Concordia seated left, patera in right hand, resting left arm on statuette of Spes set on cornucopia, COS III in exergue; ex H. S. Perlin Co.; SOLD


Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Diadumenian, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
SH82699. Silver denarius, RSC III 21b; RIC IV 117; SRCV II 7450; BMCRE V, p. 510, 93 var. (from front) and 94 var. (no cuirass); Hunter III 4 var. (no cuirass), Choice EF, excellent portrait, translucent look drapery, light rose tone on luster, excellent centering and strike, tiny edge cracks, but for slight obv. double strike it would be FDC, weight 3.000 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, Jan - May 218 A.D.; obverse M OPEL ANT DIADVMENIAN CAES, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Spes advancing left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand; SOLD


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.

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Spes is the personification of hope and the reverse legend translates, Hope of the Augusta. In 42 A.D., when this coin was struck, Antonia, Claudius' mother, and Livia were the only women who had ever held the title Augusta.

The face of Spes, visible on high grade examples of this type, might be that of Antonia.
RB26384. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV I 1854, RIC I 115, BMCRE I 192, VF, weight 29.638 g, maximum diameter 34.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 42 A.D.; obverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head right; reverse SPES AVGVSTA, Spes standing, head left, holding flower and lifting skirt, SC below; green patina, good style dies; SOLD


Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Diadumenian, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
SH68147. Silver denarius, RIC IV 116; RSC III 21; BMCRE V, p. 510, 94; Hunter III 4; SRCV II 7450; NGC 3598759-038, NGC XF, strike 5/5, surface 4/5, well centered, nicely toned, weight 3.11 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, Jan - May 218 A.D.; obverse M OPEL ANT DIADVMENIAN CAES, bare-headed and draped bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Spes advancing left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand; SOLD


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Titus, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
SH65238. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II, part I, 739; Cohen I 210; BMCRE II p. 162 note; SRCV I -, aVF, weight 21.337 g, maximum diameter 33.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 74 A.D.; obverse T CAES VESPASIAN IMP PON TR POT COS III CENS, laureate head right; reverse Spes advancing left, flower in right, lifting skirt with left, S - C across field; superb big bronze portrait; very rare; SOLD


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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The mint in Asia Minor, which may have been at Ephesus, was apparently rather careless about matching proper reverses, still the references only cite a couple examples known for this rare hybrid.
SH28471. Silver denarius, RIC II pt I, 1479, RSC II 393, RPC II 1455 (2 specimens), BMCRE II p. 63, 38; hybrid with reverse of Domitian as Caesar, VF, toned, scratches, weight 3.217 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 225o, Ephesus? uncertain Asia Minor mint, 76 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PRINCEPS IVVENTVT (prince of youth), Spes standing half left, flower in right, raising fold of drapery with left; fine portrait style; rare (R2); SOLD




  




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Catalog current as of Monday, December 9, 2019.
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Hope and Fate