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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ Faustina Jr.View Options:  |  |  |   

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

The daughter, wife, and mother of emperors and empresses, Faustina II was born around 130 A.D. to Antoninus Pius and Faustina I. She was married to her cousin Marcus Aurelius in 145 A.D. In 146 A.D., she gave birth to the first of 14 children. To celebrate this occasion she was given the title of Augusta, which technically made her superior in rank to her husband. Faustina II was a devoted wife and mother and accompanied her husband on all his military campaigns. Her son Commodus went on to become emperor after his fathers' death, and her daughter Lucilla became Augusta when she married Lucius Verus. She died in the city of Halala in Anatolia in 175 A.D., plagued by baseless rumors about her infidelity. She was deified soon after and a grand temple was erected to her in the city where she died.


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Faustina II was the daughter, wife, and mother of emperors and empresses. When she gave birth to the first of many children she was given the title of Augusta, which for a time made her superior in rank to her husband. She was a devoted wife and mother and accompanied her husband on all his military campaigns.
SH77013. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III MA1697 var. (throne without canopy, and S C across field), BMCRE IV MA1568 var. (same), MIR 18 54-6a, Banti 7, VF, dark green patina with touches of red, weight 23.644 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, c. 175 - 176 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, draped bust right; reverse AETERNITAS, Faustina seated left on throne with canopy, holding scepter, between two female attendants (carrying her throne?) with veils flying above their heads, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Triton XIX, lot 578; ex A.K. Collection; ex Kress 164 (Nov 1975), lot 1141; very rare variety; SOLD


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In April 145, Marcus married Faustina, as had been planned since 138. Since Marcus was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius' son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been noteworthy. Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus, would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina.
SH17280. Gold aureus, RIC III AP513b, Cohen III 247, VF, slight flan bend and finders mark on reverse, weight 7.133 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 148 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right with head bare, hair waved and coiled on back of head; reverse VENVS, Venus standing slightly left, apple in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; SOLD


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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.
SH77006. Silver denarius, RIC III MA676, RSC II 95, BMCRE IV MA89, MIR 18 10, SRCV II 5251, Choice EF, toned, superb strike with sharp dies, slightly ragged edge, among the finest known examples of the type, weight 3.331 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas standing facing, head left, cradling an infant in each arm, flanked by two children standing at feet; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Harlan J. Berk; SOLD


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Venus (Aphrodite) can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.
SH73705. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III AP1388b; BMCRE IV AP2147; Hunter II p. 300, 30; Cohen III 268; SRCV II 4720, VF, nice style, well centered, flan crack, weight 24.039 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 148 - 152 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right with head bare, hair waved and coiled chignon tied with double band of pearls on back of head; reverse VENVS, Venus standing half left, apple in right hand, grounded rudder in left hand, dolphin coiled around rudder, S - C low across field; SOLD


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In Roman religion, Concordia was the goddess of agreement, understanding, and marital harmony. The cult of Concordia Augusta ("Majestic Harmony") was of special importance to the imperial household. She is usually depicted wearing a long cloak and holding a patera (sacrificial bowl), a cornucopia (symbol of prosperity), or a caduceus (symbol of peace).
RS21721. Silver denarius, SRCV II 4703, RIC III Pius 500b (FAVSTINAE in error), nice VF, weight 2.934 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 152 - 154 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL, draped bust right; reverse CONCORDIA (harmony), Concordia standing slightly right, head right, cornucopia turned inward in left hand; SOLD


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Faustina Junior and Marcus Aurelius had 14 children. Commodus was the tenth of the fourteen children and the only son to survive. His twin brother Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antonius died at the age of four.
SH57723. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III MA1673, BMCRE IV 949, Cohen III 222, Hunter II 72, Cayon III 104, Szaivert MIR 31, SRCV II 5284 var. (diademed), VF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, area of corrosion on reverse, weight 26.664 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Sep 161 - 164 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in a bun at the back; reverse TEMPOR FELIC (happy times), Fecunditas standing left, cradling two infants one in each arm (Commodus and his twin brother Antoninus, born on 31 Aug 161), flanked by four additional children (Fadilla, Cornificia, Faustina III, and Lucilla) standing at her feet, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; attractive big bronze; SOLD


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Uncirculated, bold, mint luster. Minted under her father, Antoninus Pius.
SH05275. Silver denarius, RIC III AP495a, RSC II 15, BMCRE IV AP1099, SRCV II 4700, UNC, weight 3.28 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 157 - 161 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right with head bare, hair waved and coiled on back of head; reverse AVGVSTI PII FIL (daughter of the pius emperor), Venus standing left, Victory in right, resting left hand on shield set on helmet; SOLD


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The reverse legend, SIDERIBVS RECEPTA, means "received by the stars." Diana Lucifera, with a crescent moon on her shoulders, holds a torch to light the way for deified Augusta to journey to her new home in the heavens.
SH24652. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV II 5233, RIC III MA1715, aEF, double-struck, weight 23.0752 g, maximum diameter 33.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 176 - 177 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, draped bust right; reverse SIDERIBVS RECEPTA (received by the stars) S C, Diana standing right holding torch, crescent behind neck; attractive coin with unusual reverse legend; SOLD


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

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Prymnessus is the modern day town of Sülün in central Turkey.
SH57234. Bronze AE 26, apparently unpublished for Faustina; cf. vA Phrygiens 1086 (Marcus Aurelius), VF, weight 8.419 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Prymnessus (Sulun, Turkey) mint, obverse CEBACTH ΦAYCTEINA, draped bust right; reverse ΠPYMNHCCΩN, Dikaiosyne (Aequitas) standing left, scales in right hand, ears of grain in raised left; extremely rare; SOLD


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Coins portraying Fecunditas usually advertise a birth in the imperial family. A naked child means it was a boy, female babies are depicted clothed. In their thirty years of marriage, Faustina bore Marcus Aurelius thirteen children. On this coin, the two children her arms are thought to represent Fadilla and Cornificia, the children standing at her feet are thought to represent Faustina III and Lucilla.
SH57737. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III MA1635, Cohen III 96, Choice aVF, weight 25.238 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 164 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas standing left, cradling an infant in each arm (Fadilla and Cornificia), flanked by two girls (Faustina III and Lucilla) standing at her feet; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DIVAAVGFAVSTINA
DIVAFAVSTINAPIA
DIVAEFAVSTINAVGMATRCASTROR
DIVAEFAVSTINAEPIAE
FAVSTINAAVGANTONINIAVG
FAVSTINAAVGANTONINIAVGPIIFIL
FAVSTINAAVGPIIAVGFIL
FAVSTINAAVGVSTA
FAVSTINAAVGVSTAAVGPIIF
FAVSTINAAVGVSTAAVGPIIFIL
FAVSTINAAVGVSTAPIIAVGFIL
FAVSTINAEAVGANTONINIAVGPIIFIL
FAVSTINAEAVGPIIAVGF
FAVSTINAEAVGPIIAVGFIL


REFERENCES

Banti, A. and L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 3: Marcus Aurelius to Clodius Albinus. (Paris, 1883).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1930).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 4: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1940).
Robinson, A.S. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Szaivert, W. Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus un Commodus (161-192). (Wien, 1984).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P.L. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil III: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit Antoninus Pius. (Stuttgart, 1937).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, December 16, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Faustina Jr.