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Faustina Friday – The Last Issue for Faustina the Elder


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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! I hope you have a great weekend!

This week's installment of Faustina Friday is about the last issue minted for Faustina the Elder, the Ceres standing left, holding corn ears and long torch reverse type with the CERES legend. The type was issued in all denominations. I have the denarius and sestertius of this type.

721286042_FaustinaSrCERESstandingdenarius.jpg.7aa9f3d409cc8f32d213a0f0f5c53d05.jpg

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman AR denarius, 3.31 g, 18.0 mm, 11 h.
Rome, AD 160-161.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: CERES, Ceres standing left, holding corn-ears and long torch.
Refs: RIC 378a; BMCRE 461-463; Cohen/RSC 136; Strack 456; RCV 4591; CRE 77.

524931937_FaustinaSrCERESSCstandingsestertius.jpg.803481a4cb0072c8e4a596a531487c03.jpg

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 28.15 g, 32.5 mm, 11 h.
Rome, AD 160-161.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: CERES, Ceres standing left, holding corn-ears and long torch.
Refs: RIC 1128; BMCRE 1526-27; Cohen 137; Strack 1273; RCV –.


Dating the Issue

Martin Beckmann's Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces, has greatly clarified the dating and arrangement of the Diva Faustina coinage. Beckmann identified an almost complete sequence of die-linkages for the aurei, supported by additional shorter, but corroborative, die-linkages among the sestertii. In addition, he discovered several mules with reverse die-linkages to dated coins of Antoninus or Aurelius Caesar, which connected certain issues to other dated events. These studies enabled Beckman to produce a comprehensive and reliable sequence of relative dating.

Beckmann's die study demonstrates that the CERES standing reverse type is the last of her aurei to be minted.[1] Moreover, this is the only reverse type known among her aurei to occur with an obverse die with a legend that is arranged all around the bust, not just on either side.[2] This style of legend is known for Pius only on coins of his last tribunician year (TR POT XXIIII) and posthumous issues, and are characteristic of Antonine coins struck from December AD 160 through 163.[3] The combination of die sequence and legend style firmly establishes a date for these issues of AD 160 (before the introduction of the "all round" legends) and 161 (after their introduction). I have
previously written elsewhere
about these coins with the "all-round" legends.

673673377_FaustinaSrCERESstandingaureusANS.jpg.818c4c8cd7784dacfab009b2cb2f0db4.jpg

Aureus of Diva Faustina the Elder with obverse legend in all-round, large-font letters. ANS 1956.184.51.


1570935602_AntoninusPiusCONSECRATIOdenarius.jpg.fd680c86164fd4473cf132da4848c066.jpg

Denarius issued posthumously for Divus Antoninus Pius with obverse and reverse legends in all-round, large-font letters. Author's own collection.


A Few Words About Ceres

There are a disproportionate number of coins depicting Ceres that were issued for Faustina and this is not coincidental. I have
previously written about some of these types and about this goddess and shall not rehash this material here. Andreas Alföldi argues that the connection between the empress and Ceres goes beyond mere concern over the grain supply or her devotion to the goddess.[4] It is more personal; Antoninus Pius was devoted to the sanctuary at Eleusis,[5] which had a temple where Faustina was worshiped as the new Demeter (Ceres) and had her own hierophant.[6] This goddess seems a fitting type to be honored on this empress's final issue.

Let's see your Ceres coins of Faustina or anything you feel is relevant!

~~~

Notes


1. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, pp. 10-11; Die Chart 10.

2. Ibid., pp. 10-11, 70.

3. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021, pp. 56, 58-59.

4. Alföldi, Andreas. "Redeunt Saturnia Regna. VII : Frugifer-Triptolemos Im Ptolemaïsch -Römischen Herrscherkult." Chiron , vol. 9, 1979, pp. 552–606, specifically pp. 586-589.

5. Eleusis, in the outskirts of Athens, of Eleusian mysteries fame. These mysteries involved elaborate rituals devoted to the worship of Demeter (Ceres).

6. Mylonas, George E. Eleusis and the Eleusian Mysteries. Princeton University Press, 1961, pp 155, 179.

Edited by Roman Collector
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My first Faustina coin is a Ceres denarius, but struck much earlier. Reverse legend doesn't mention Ceres though.

image.png.5954090979fe89ade9c9e2015ba51c65.png

Faustina I (100-140) – struck 141
Obverse: DIVA FAVSTINA, Bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved in several loops round head and drawn up and coiled on top. Reverse: AVGVSTA. Ceres, veiled, draped, standing left, stretching out right hand and holding torch, nearly vertical, in left
RIC III 361. 

 

Another one is an As also from a similar date and also without Ceres legend.

image.png.f407677262924a2bbafae88c7198d9ec.png

8.38 g 26 mm. AD 141 DIVA FAVSTINA, bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved and coiled in bands across head and drawn up at back and piled in a round coil on top. / AVGVSTA S C, Ceres, draped, standing, front, head left, holding short lighted torch, transverse, raised in right hand and sceptre, vertical, at side, in left
RIC III Antoninus Pius 1173a (as)

 

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25 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

My first Faustina coin is a Ceres denarius, but struck much earlier. Reverse legend doesn't mention Ceres though.

image.png.5954090979fe89ade9c9e2015ba51c65.png

Faustina I (100-140) – struck 141
Obverse: DIVA FAVSTINA, Bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved in several loops round head and drawn up and coiled on top. Reverse: AVGVSTA. Ceres, veiled, draped, standing left, stretching out right hand and holding torch, nearly vertical, in left
RIC III 361. 

 

Another one is an As also from a similar date and also without Ceres legend.

image.png.f407677262924a2bbafae88c7198d9ec.png

8.38 g 26 mm. AD 141 DIVA FAVSTINA, bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved and coiled in bands across head and drawn up at back and piled in a round coil on top. / AVGVSTA S C, Ceres, draped, standing, front, head left, holding short lighted torch, transverse, raised in right hand and sceptre, vertical, at side, in left
RIC III Antoninus Pius 1173a (as)

 

It's excellent that you have so many coins of Faustina the Elder -- one can't have enough! I date these issues differently. The AVGVSTA and Ceres with a single torch issues are securely dated to AD 145-150,[1] and probably to AD 145-147. The Ceres type with two torches was introduced in December AD 147 with the birth of Faustina the Younger's first child.[2]

1. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, p. 51 ff.
2. Dinsdale, Paul H. Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius Caesar AD 138-161; Second Revised Edition. Leeds, Paul H Dinsdale, 2021, p. 232. See also Beckmann, op. cit., p. 59.

25 minutes ago, Barzus said:

Great write up, thanks @Roman Collector. Here is my Ceres denarius with all round legend - so among the last denarii struck for Faustina I.

C0E8E634-B47B-4198-B328-21F026F79A73.jpeg.7b66a83170070c7a858bc46c25643b78.jpeg

 

I love it!!! What a great example of the all-round legend!

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Thank you for the dating. I wasn't aware of this.

I like Faustina I coins a lot but what is a little strange and I'm not exactly proud - no lifetime issues. I saw a bunch of them in the last months, but they weren't appealing enough to bid on them. But for the near future this is clearly a goal.

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9 hours ago, Barzus said:

@Ryro, actually, there are :). But much less... I guess this is a topic @Roman Collector will have to post here 😉 (again?)

I have previously written elsewhere about the lifetime issues. Here's a lifetime CERES reverse, for example! 😎

Faustina Sr CERES standing lifetime as.jpg

Faustina Senior, AD 138-140.
Roman Æ as or dupondius, 10.35 g, 26.4 mm, 11 h.
Rome, AD 138-140.
Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: CERES SC, Ceres standing l., holding corn-ears and long torch.
Refs: RIC 1084; BMCRE 1124; Cohen 140; RCV 4679; UCR 150; Strack 1214.
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Another very helpful "Faustina Friday" - I appreciate the pains you take, @Roman Collector

This post helped me correct some errors I had in my collection - I have both the sestertius and the denarius from the OP (inferior copies), but I had the sestertius attribution all buggered-up, confusing it with an earlier Ceres type.  Thanks to this post, I've cleaned it up. 

Here is the sestertius - it is quite wretched, but until a better (cheap) one shows up, here it is:

1027820028_FaustinaI-Sest.Ceresstd.NClotJune2020(0).jpg.5a279e5aaafbb86a7501873289109818.jpgFaustina I               Æ Sestertius 5th Phase: Anniversary of Faustina’s Deification (c. 160-161 A.D.) Rome Mint [DI]VA FAVSTINA, draped bust r. / CERES, Ceres standing left, holding corn-ears and long, vertical torch; S-C across fields.  RIC III Antoninus Pius 1128a. (18.01 grams / 30 mm) eBay June 2020        

Awful as it is, I do believe the obverse of mine is a die-match to the OP example.  Below is mine with the @Roman Collector specimen - note matching irregularities in the obverse lettering - the surfaces on mine are so poor the portrait has a beard - or is this a rare variety?: 

962582670_FaustinaI-Sest.Ceresstd.NClotJune2020(RCcomp).jpg.218b188dea2afdebcda87f6a90ed24e6.jpg

 

Here is the denarius: 

1592013978_FaustinaI-Den.CeresLotJune2019aa.jpg.bb1e322c77c85cd3721417590ff675cc.jpg

Faustina I   Denarius 5th Phase: Anniversary of Faustina’s Deification (c. 160-161 A.D.) Rome Mint DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed draped bust right / CERES, Ceres standing left, holding corn-ears and long torch. RIC III Antoninus Pius 378a. (2.87 grams / 16 mm) eBay June 2019  

And to round things out, here is a limes version of the denarius, sent to me by Coin Talker @tenbobbit 

47370327_FaustinaI-LimesDen.D.SmithOct2021(0).jpg.0e5a01d525f461b31bd952163563061a.jpg

Thanks again, RC for the fine post.  😀

 

 

 

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Thank you for the kind words, @Marsyas Mike! I'm glad I was able to help you attribute that sestertius. I agree it's an obverse die-match to mine. The idiosyncrasies of the letters in FAVSTINA match exactly.

Interesting limes version of the denarius, too. The ancient coin-copier didn't exactly go to great lengths to hide the casting seam, did he?

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Based off your information, I think mine is a 145-147 issue since the reverse legend has AVGVSTA vs CERES. Is that a correct understanding? The auction house didn’t have any date, so for now I’ve just been saying post 141 in my description. Would be awesome to narrow in on an actual timeline vs. just sometime after she passed! 

0B914F52-9D91-41A8-B08B-7FD319106926.png.1bf55c93a85361d9aaf8bcc508ea7c5f.png

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39 minutes ago, Restitutor said:

Based off your information, I think mine is a 145-147 issue since the reverse legend has AVGVSTA vs CERES. Is that a correct understanding? The auction house didn’t have any date, so for now I’ve just been saying post 141 in my description. Would be awesome to narrow in on an actual timeline vs. just sometime after she passed! 

0B914F52-9D91-41A8-B08B-7FD319106926.png.1bf55c93a85361d9aaf8bcc508ea7c5f.png

Exactly. AD 145-47. See: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/faustina-friday-–-avgvsta-ceres-with-a-single-torch-or-scepter.393534/

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Ah, a type that I seem to have... I think I actually several varieties in my "denarius pile," but only this one photographed (so far, maybe I'll go try to do some others). Looks like may RIC 362 (Antoninus)?

(Top photo is when I consigned it to a new auctioneer about 10 years, but I think it was unsold...maybe I'll find it in my pile momentarily...)

749889361_48FaustinaARDenarius.jpg.fb84a674b533871db9fb05d3e9f435a4.jpg309697234_108divafaustinadenarius.jpg.b6241cd0f31653fe49c450361ec2598d.jpg

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22 hours ago, Curtis JJ said:

Ah, a type that I seem to have... I think I actually several varieties in my "denarius pile," but only this one photographed (so far, maybe I'll go try to do some others). Looks like may RIC 362 (Antoninus)?

(Top photo is when I consigned it to a new auctioneer about 10 years, but I think it was unsold...maybe I'll find it in my pile momentarily...)

749889361_48FaustinaARDenarius.jpg.fb84a674b533871db9fb05d3e9f435a4.jpg309697234_108divafaustinadenarius.jpg.b6241cd0f31653fe49c450361ec2598d.jpg

That is indeed RIC 362. That coin type has a special place in my heart. It was my first coin of Faustina I, according to its yellowing collector tag with the ID number of "FAUSTSR-1."
Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Ceres long torch and holding skirt denarius.jpg
Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman AR denarius, 3.17 g, 18.2 mm, 5 h.
Rome, AD 145-147.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AVGVSTA, Ceres standing facing, head left, holding long torch and holding up fold of skirt.
Refs: RIC 362; BMCRE 421-427; Cohen 104; Strack 468; RCV 4584; CRE 85.

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