Roman Collector Posted March 10 · Patron Share Posted March 10 Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead. Today we're going to talk about a lifetime issue of Faustina the Elder, the CONCORDIA AVG reverse type(s) depicting Concordia seated left. You'll notice I wrote "type(s)" instead of "type" or "types." That's because the number of different reverse types depends on if you're a lumper or a splitter. This involves more than a little flyspecking. Do you like flyspecking? Well, come with me as we walk through the door of Flyspeck Billy’s! Flyspeck Billy Trading Post, Custer SD, 1976. Photo courtesy South Dakota State Historical Society, South Dakota Digital Archives 2008-02-26-039 Used by permission. A Few Words About the Issue Before We get Started There are also several coins issued for Faustina during her lifetime with the CONCORDIA AVG reverse legend which depict Concordia standing. That's a subject for a later day. We're going to focus on the Concordia seated designs. This issue was produced during Faustina's lifetime and therefore falls outside of the purview of Martin Beckmann's die-linkage study of the empress’s posthumous coinage. I have not endeavored to do a die-linkage study myself on this issue, either. We know there is a distinction between the coins bearing the obverse legend FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG, which were issued before Antoninus Pius received the title of Pater Patriae on or before 1 March 139 CE, and those bearing the obverse legend FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG P P, which were issued afterward and into 140. However, there is no way of knowing without doing such a die-linkage study whether the various bust varieties (left-facing versus right-facing) or the various reverse design varieties were minted simultaneously or at different times. If it could be demonstrated that the various designs were all in simultaneous production, then all these varieties are best considered the result of stylistic variations among the die engravers at the mint and not as separate issues, i.e. lumping them all together. On the other hand, if it could be demonstrated that the various varieties were issued separately, then it would be important to split them up.I have studied the very first issue before the Pater Patriae inscription was incorporated into the empress's obverse titulature and can draw no conclusion with regard to the first issue; there are too few examples (a total of four specimens, of which two share a die pair and one of which is likely unofficial) to draw any conclusions. Nobody has attempted a die-linkage study of the issues bearing the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG P P legend. Therefore, it remains up to the individual numismatist whether to lump them all together or to consider them separately. Strack is a lumper; Cohen is a splitter; Mattingly and Sydenham fall somewhere in between. Are you a lumper or a splitter?It All Begins with Cohen Cohen seems to have been the first to note and catalog the various varieties of the Concordia seated reverse type issued during Faustina the Elder’s lifetime. He notes both left- and right-facing bust types as well as four different varieties of reverse design. Cohen's catalog listing for the Concordia seated issues under discussion (nos. 145-150). Note that all denominations are represented here, though few varieties are present on more than one denomination. As we'll see, however, most varieties are found on many denominations and by no means should Cohen's listing imply that a given variety is unique to any particular denomination. I'm going to list each variety by reverse design, illustrating them whenever possible by coins from my own collection, supplemented by museum specimens or auction listings whenever needed to illustrate the type. I will not illustrate every denomination or bust variety because that would involve dozens of photos, most of which are not my coins; rather, I will note these coins' existence and provide links for the reader to the various specimens.Cohen's First Reverse Type Cohen's description of nos. 145-147 refers to the following reverse design: Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left elbow on cornucopiae (which forms the arm of the seat). Faustina I, 138-140 CE. Roman AR denarius, 2.68 g, 17.1 mm, 6 h. Rome, 139-140. Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG P P, bare-headed and draped bust, right. Rev: CONCORDIA AVG, Concordia seated l. on low chair, holding patera and resting l. elbow on cornucopiae which forms arm of chair. Refs: RIC 327; BMCRE 41; Cohen 146; Strack cf. 394; RCV 4667; UCR 163; CRE 89. Notes: Strack fails to make clear whether his cited specimens are of the variety with the cornucopiae forming the arm of the chair or with the statue of Spes; he cites Cohen's references to both types. Also issued in the aureus (Cohen 145), sestertius (Cohen 147) and middle bronze denomination (RIC 1087). Denarius also known with a left-facing bust (Seller "aleksey4004", online 16 June 2021, item 294226732177; via www.ebay.co.uk). Denarii of the first issue with the earlier FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG obverse legend (Strack pl. 6, 391 = Sir Charles Oman collection, Oxford; Hunterian Museum GLAHM 26918 = Hunter 1) illustrated previously at another forum.Cohen's Second Reverse Type Cohen's description of no. 148 refers to the following reverse design: Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left elbow on statue of Spes set on base; below throne, cornucopiae. Faustina I, 138-140 CE. Roman AR denarius, 2.85 g, 16.6 mm, 5 h. Rome, first issue, 138-139 CE. Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG, bare-headed and draped bust, right. Rev: CONCORDIA AVG, Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left arm on statuette of Spes set on base, cornucopiae under chair. Refs: British Museum 1978, 0314.2; cf. Strack 391 (Ashmolean), Hunter 1 (GLAHM 26918). RIC –; Cohen –; RCV –; CRE –. Notes: BMC p. 8* cites Strack 392 in error; RSC 146b correctly cites Strack 391 and cites BMC p.8*. Faustina I, 138-140 CE. Roman Æ as or dupondius, 10.13 g, 27.4 mm, 11 h. Rome, 139-140 CE. Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG P P, bare-headed and draped bust, right. Rev: CONCORDIA AVG S C, Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left arm on statuette of Spes set on base, cornucopiae under chair. Refs: RIC –; BMC 1127; Cohen –; Strack –; RCV 4680. Also issued in the aureus denomination with right-facing (RIC 328a) and left-facing (RIC 328b) busts, a denarius with the later FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG P P obverse legend (BMCRE 40), and possibly a sestertius (Strack cites examples in Munich and from Feuardent, but I have not been able to confirm the existence of this variety).Cohen's Third Reverse TypeCohen's description of no. 149 refers to the following reverse design: Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left elbow on statue of Spes but without a cornucopiae below the throne. Faustina I, 138-140 CE. Roman Æ as or dupondius, 12.26 g, 28.8 mm, 11 h. Rome, 139-140 CE. Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG P P, bare-headed and draped bust, right. Rev: CONCORDIA AVG S C, Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left arm on statuette of Spes. No cornucopiae under throne. Refs: RIC 1086; BMC 1127n.; Cohen 149; Strack 1217; RCV –. Also issued in the denarius denomination (unlisted in RIC, BMCRE, Cohen, or Strack).Cohen's Fourth Reverse Type Cohen’s description of no. 150 refers to the following reverse design: Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left elbow on back of throne; cornucopiae below throne. Denarius with left-facing bust (Cohen 150). Helios Numismatik GmbH, Auction 4, lot 458, 14 October 2009. Also known in the denarius denomination with a right-facing bust (Strack pl. 6, 394 = Leningrad specimen).My Own Thoughts on the Matter We know from Beckmann's die-linkage study of the aurei and the sestertii of Faustina's posthumous issues that for many large issues (such as the PIETAS AVG issue of 140-145 CE), right-facing and left-facing busts, veiled and bare-headed busts, and reverse dies with various small differences in reverse designs were in use simultaneously. In these cases, the various flyspeck varieties cannot logically be taken to represent separate issues, but merely the result of the idiosyncrasies of the different die-engravers at the Rome mint. I have no reason to think the situation was any different at the Rome mint during Faustina's lifetime. Therefore, I personally believe there were only two issues of coins with this reverse type, the first issue, which was only in the denarius denomination, and which bears the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG legend, and a later issue, in the aureus, denarius, sestertius, and middle bronze denominations. This is quite likely a case where a "rare variety" doesn't mean anything more than that a particular specimen was struck with a particular die, not that is was a special issue for a particular occasion or purpose. Sure, it's fun to see how different artists depicted Concordia, but I am not going to let Cohen's catalog dictate what should and should not be considered a "set." Cohen was a splitter, but the available evidence suggests I should be a lumper.Are you a lumper or a splitter? I'd love to read your comments and see your coins. Post anything relevant!~~~ Notes 1. "Flyspeck Billy Trading Post, Custer SD, Custer County." CONTENTdm, SD State Historical Society - Archives Department, https://sddigitalarchives.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/photos/id/4697/. 2. "Conditions for Use of Photographic Reproductions from the South Dakota State Historical Society-State Archives." South Dakota State Historical Society - Photo Resources, SD State Historical Society - Archives Department, https://history.sd.gov/archives/photouse.aspx. 3. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012. 4. Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, vol. IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. Introduction, indexes and plates. London, BMP, 1968, p. xxxii, n. 2 cites Dessau, Hermann, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae 2182, a statue dedication which records Antoninus as Pater Patriae on 1 March 139. This firmly dated inscription provides a terminus ante quem for the emperor's acceptance of the title. 5. The change of titulature to FAVSTINA AVGVSTA is undated yet is so prominent that one is tempted to look for a significant political change to prompt it. The most important event of the period is the joint-consulship of Antoninus and Aurelius Caesar in 140. The change in Faustina's obverse inscription likely reflects the new power structure: it completes the dynastic triad of Augustus, Augusta and Caesar. 6. Cohen, Henry. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Tome II: de Nerva à Antonin (96 à 161 après J.-C.). Paris, 1882, pp. 424-25. 7. Strack, Paul L., Untersuchungen zur Römischen Reichsprägung des Zweiten Jahrhunderts, vol. 3, Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Antoninus Pius. Stuttgart 1937, no. 1217. 12 1 1 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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