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The Faustinae : are these asses or dupondii


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This unloved kitten was interesting and I thought it to be unjustly ignored at auction.


Faustina II -- AE28x27 13.50g orichalcum(?) ca. 176.
DIVA FAV - STINA PIA; draped bust r.
Crescent surrounded by 7 stars; S C beneath
RIC 1714(?)

It was offered as an as, but I suspect by the metal color and the heavier weight that this was in fact meant to be a dupondius?

Edited by seth77
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In the Antonine period, there were no design features on coins of the empresses that allow for the as to be distinguished from the dupondius. It is done only by metallic composition. On a patinated coin, that can be impossible. If the coin has brassy highlights visible through the patina, then it's a dupondius. It's not easy to determine, either, whether certain reverse types were only issued as assess or as dupondii because auction houses and even some museum collections just call all of them "as" and the researcher cannot make an accurate determination. Some reverse types were clearly issued as both. Most of my Faustina bronzes are patinated and I can't tell, so I just say "as or dupondius" or "middle bronze."

I still don't have a specimen of that coin in my collection because I can't find one that has enough eye-appeal for me without paying a fortune. Coingratulations!

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  • seth77 changed the title to Faustina II: as or dupondius?

I think the pic is too dark and the patina and the very thin layer of wax(?) on its surface add to this impression. It looks like a piece which has been in a steady collection for some time. I think I will try to make a video with it, see if I can capture its natural look.

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I said I'd make a video with this coin perhaps its true color might help with the attribution as either an as or a dupondius, but I can't find a way to hold the coin while also holding the camera phone to film it. How do you guy make these clips with your coins?

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  • 4 months later...
  • seth77 changed the title to The Faustinae : are these asses or dupondii

This one is one of my favorite representations of Faustina I with her veiled portrait:


AE25mm, 9.50g orichalcum as/dupondius, minted at Rome ca. 141.
DIVA AVGVS - TA FAVSTINA; draped veiled bust of Faustina to right
Crescent with star inside, six other stars around; S C beneath
cf. RIC 1199


At 9.50g it is extremely light for a dupondius at this time. With the pale yellow hue of the brass metal it looks like it should be at least a dupondius. Again the same question -- what denomination is this supposed to be?

PS - even with the obvious condition problems, this is such an elegant coinage.

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The Faustina I is very likely supposed to be an as to my mind too, with just south of 10g and 24mm. But the metal is not the usual coppery red one sees in a regular as but yellow brass, perhaps not as pale as in the Sabina sestertius, but with the pitting and the other defects that is no surprise.

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...I don't know (as in, literally), but just from listings in this forum, between Faustina I and II, there are enough orichalcum sestertii (yeah, surprised me) that it might have been used for asses, too.

Edited by JeandAcre
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