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Faustina Friday – Two Middle Bronzes Struck on the Same Day?

Roman Collector

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It's Friday Meme

Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I got a new coin. It's fancy – fancy like Applebee's on a date night! Yep, bougie like Natty in the styrofoam squeak-squeakin' in the truck bed all the way home (I've included links for my non-US readers to help them understand the references).


All kidding aside, I like the coin and it turned out to be interesting. I'm going to postulate something that can't be proven, though I think you'll find it thought-provoking because it raises questions about how flans were prepared. While researching a new acquisition for my numophylacium Faustinae, I came across another specimen that is virtually identical, not only in terms of the die pair used to strike it, but also the flan shape. Here's the coin in question.


Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman Æ as or dupondius, 13.27 g, 26.2 mm, 5 h.
Rome, AD 143-144.
Obv: DIVA AVGVS-TA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: PIETAS AVG S C, Pietas, veiled, draped, standing left, dropping incense out of right hand over lighted candelabrum-altar, left, and holding box in left hand.
Refs: RIC 1192A(a); BMC 1468-71; Cohen –; Strack 1241; RCV 4655.

Compare my coin to this one.


Specimen (12.6 g, 27 mm, 5 h) from Numismatic Naumann, Auction 10, lot 506, 1 December 2013.

The coins are double die-matches. They even have the same die break over the first V in AVGVSTA on the obverse. They have the same die-axis. Moreover, look at the flan shape. At first, I thought they were the same coin sold at two different times, but they aren't. The flans are not quite identical and the Naumann coin is lighter in weight.

Although many methods of flan preparation were used at various times, the presence of squarish flans on some Antonine bronzes suggests their flans were made by slicing bars of bronze or orichalcum and then melting the pieces in individual flan molds with varying degrees of success.[1, 2] Perhaps the coins are so similar because they were manufactured on the same day – perhaps within minutes of each other – by the same mint workers, with flans cut from the same bar, with the same dies, and with the same die-axis.

Angels Outfield GIF - Angels Outfield Believe GIFs

We'll never know, of course.

The obligatory Faustina Friday section about dating, purpose of the issue, and all that jazz

We know from die-linkage studies of the corresponding aureii that these coins with the PIETAS reverse inscription and with Pietas sacrificing over an altar or candelabrum were part of the first phase of issues for the newly deceased Faustina and deal with her funeral and deification. An aureus with this reverse of Pietas sacrificing over a candelabrum appears muled with an aureus of Antoninus Pius bearing the inscription ANTONINVS AVG PIVS PP TR P COS III, establishing a date of AD 140-144 with certainty.[3]

Although the aureus die chain for the deified empress begins with this reverse type,[4] the PIETAS with candelabrum altar does not appear on the sestertii until the second series of issues.[5] This second phase dates to AD 143-145 and were issued in conjunction with the dedication of the Temple to Diva Faustina. Moreover, the bronze PIETAS AVG types were in use for a longer period on the sestertii than the aurei; more dies are known for the bronze than the gold.[6] The middle bronze denominations fall outside the purview of Beckmann's die-linkage studies of the aurei and sestertii, but I have no reason to believe their chronology differs significantly from that of the sestertii. This reverse type appears at the beginning of the second series sestertius die-chain and I have therefore dated it to AD 143-144.

What do you think about my "struck on the same day" theory? Do you have any of Faustina the Elder’s PIETAS AVG types? Feel free to post comments or any coins deem relevant!



1. Hill, George F. "Ancient Methods of Coining." The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, Fifth Series, vol. 2, 1922, pp. 1–42, vii. See pp. 10-12.

2. Caza, Shawn. "The Life-Cycle of Late Roman Bronze Coins -a Tutorial." Academia.edu, 8 Dec. 2019,

3. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, p. 7.

4. Issued in parallel with the EX S C carpentum right and AETERNITAS standing left, holding globe and scepter issue. Beckmann, op. cit., Die Chart 1.

5. Beckmann, op. cit., Die Chart 12.

6. Beckmann, op. cit., pp. 42-43.

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36 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

What do you think about my "struck on the same day" theory?

The die break is of the same size, there are no visible differences in the die wear. Therefore I think that the coins are at most a few hundred strikes away. Now it depends on how many coins were minted during one day with this die?? I don't know :classic_unsure:

Edited by shanxi
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Interesting thread RC. Medieval and modern sources indicate that a team could mint 3-4000 coins per day in times of heavy minting. Classical antiquity provides a few cases of well-dated, brief and intensive strikes (Mithridates Eupator). By imagining a daily production of 3-4000 pieces per pair of dies, we would obtain an average productivity of about 30,000 coins per obverse die, a result close to what we know for the Middle Ages and modern times. But these results are only estimations and hypothesis.

Edited by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix
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That is very interesting, @Roman Collector - and yep, I could see the "same day" theory being very plausible.  As always, Faustina Friday sends me off to dig around my own collection, and here is my RIC 1192Aa.   

I don't want to get overly excited here, but my obverse looks an awful lot like the two OP's, but no die-break.  Some of the lettering sans break looks very similar; if not a die match, perhaps the same celator, different day?  Or is it a die-match before the break occurred in the die?   The flans a bit squarish as well... 😲


Faustina I  Æ As / Dupondius 1st Phase: funeral, deification (c. 140-143 A.D.)   Rome Mint [DIVA] AVGVSTA FAVSTIN[A], draped bust right / PIETAS AVG, S-C, Pietas standing left, dropping incense onto candelabrum-altar and holding box of incense. RIC 1192Aa; Cohen 241. (11.97 grams / 28 mm) eBay Aug. 2019

Here's my RIC 1192Ab, which has a veiled bust; I really like these veiled types, but they don't come along in my price range very often.  This one's pretty mangled, so my attribution may be off (is that an altar I see?). 



Here's a big sestertius to round out the group, also veiled, also cruddy: 


Die-match or not, thanks again for another fine, informative Faustina Friday. 

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