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Faustina Friday – Coins of British Association


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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! Today we're going to talk about a very interesting series of coins that appear to have been struck primarily for use in Britain. These coins, largely of the middle bronze denominations, have been termed "coins of British association."[1]

British Movie GIF by Pretty Whiskey / Alex Sautter

Both @Marsyas Mike and I have discussed such coins previously here and here, respectively. These coins comprised a large shipment of bronze coins to Britain in 155 CE, as shown by the coin finds at Bath. Dated to 154/55 CE is the Britannia type of Antoninus Pius (RIC 934) which comprised 213 out of 299 (71%) of Antonine asses found in the Bath deposit. Dated by tribunician power to the same year is a Mars type of Marcus Caesar (58% at Bath)[2] Walker and later Moorhead[3] therefore date the latest coins of the deposit to a reasonable 153-155 CE. Our own @curtislclay dates these British association issues to 154-155 CE.[4] The Bath deposit, unsurprisingly, contained coins dating as early as 97 CE, during the reign of Nerva,[5] and the date of 154/55 CE can only be taken as the hoard's terminus ante quem. The coins of 154-155 CE appear to have been struck specifically for delivery to Britain, and it is to these later issues that the term "coins of British association" applies.

My collection contains three coins of two reverse types of Faustina the Elder and three coins of three reverse types of Faustina the Younger represented in the Bath deposit and elsewhere. Of these five coins, four were likely among the shipment to Britain in 155 CE, while the other dates to 145-150, and was likely in circulation prior to the arrival of the "coins of British association."

Coins of Diva Faustina the Elder

The most common reverse type for Faustina the Elder found in the deposit at Bath (59% of her coins)[6] was the Pietas standing type without an altar at her feet bearing the reverse legend AETERNITAS S C. It was issued in both bare-headed bust and veiled bust varieties. I have discussed this reverse type
previously elsewhere. It is dated by Moorehead to 153-155 CE and was issued in both the as and dupondius denominations, though the as is more common.[7, 8]


FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCPietasnoaltarMBbareheaded.jpg.eda2158db0f26c35d3c5fd2f56165c5e.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman Æ dupondius, 11.37 g, 25.1 mm, 5 h.
Rome, 153-155 CE.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Pietas standing left, raising right hand and holding incense box in left.
Refs: RIC 1162(a); BMCRE
1542; Cohen 44; Strack 1270; RCV –; Walker nos. 289-97, pl. XXXVII.


FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCPietasnoaltarMBveiledbust.jpg.a98f34fd8bd728c26322c927bb455d09.jpg

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman Æ as, 8.66 g, 23.5 mm, 11 h.
Rome, AD 153-155.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, veiled and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Pietas standing left, raising right hand and holding incense box in left.
Refs: RIC 1162(b); BMCRE
1543; Cohen 45; Strack 1270; RCV –; Walker no. 315, pl. XXXVII.
Notes: Ex Crescent collection.


The second most common type for Faustina the Elder found in the deposit at Bath was the Ceres standing left holding short torch and two corn ears type bearing the reverse legend AVGVSTA S C.[9] This type was probably not part of the shipment of bronze coins to Britain in 155 CE because it was issued several years earlier. Faustina the Elder's reverse types bearing the AVGVSTA legend and depicting Ceres holding a single torch or scepter are securely dated to AD 145-150.[10] However, it appears these coins were produced before the Ceres type with two torches was introduced in December AD 147 with the birth of Faustina the Younger's first child.[11] I therefore date the following coin to AD 145-147, though I acknowledge that it is not possible to securely date the dupondius denomination because it falls outside of the purview of Beckmann's die-linkage study of the aurei and sestertii of the empress. I have discussed these Ceres types previously elsewhere.

FaustinaSrAVGVSTASCCeresshorttorchcornearsDupondius.jpg.a2562467f1a8538daa8dea6a6943471b.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman orichalcum dupondius, 12.08 g, 26.5 mm, 5 h.
Rome, 145-147 CE.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, r.
Rev: AVGVSTA SC, Ceres standing left, holding short torch and corn ears.
Refs: RIC 1171; BMCRE 1568-71; Cohen 89; Strack 1287; RCV 4646.


Coins of Faustina the Younger

The most common reverse type for Faustina the Younger found in the deposit at Bath (53% of her coins)[12] was the Felicitas standing type. By
other methodology
, we know that its obverse inscription was in use from about June 152 through December 155, and that its hairstyle was in use from Autumn 154 CE onward, which is entirely consistent with the date of its deposition in the Bath hoard.

FaustinaJrFELICITASSCdupondius.jpg.80c44fac853fd5de2f9bc4b1ab98bb48.jpg

Faustina Jr, 147-175 CE.
Roman Æ as or dupondius, 11.41 g, 23.8 mm.
Rome, autumn 154-December 155 CE.
Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: FELICITAS SC, Felicitas standing left, holding caduceus, left hand on hip.
Refs: RIC (Pius) 1395; BMCRE 2187; Cohen 108; RCV –; Walker no. 436, p. XXXVIII.


The second most common reverse type for Faustina the Younger in the Bath deposit was the anepigraphic (apart from the obligatory S C) Diana standing issue with the Beckmann type 5 hairstyle.[13] As I have discussed previously here, the coins of this issue with the Beckmann type 5 hairstyle date from autumn 154-December 155 CE, which is entirely consistent with the date of its deposition in the Bath hoard.

FaustinaJrSCDianaMBlaterissue.jpg.c9b2b2bf3b152ac64039b461957cec25.jpg

Faustina II, 147-175 CE.
Roman orichalcum dupondius, 12.39 g, 25.3 mm, 6 h.
Rome, autumn 154-December 155 CE.
Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust, right, with Beckmann Type 5 coiffure.
Rev: S C, Diana, draped, standing front, head left, holding out arrow in right hand and resting left on bow, set on ground.
Refs: RIC 1405a; cf. BMCRE 2191-92 (different hairstyle); Cohen 207; Strack 1325; RCV 4733.


The third and least common reverse type of British association of Faustina the younger was not present in the Bath deposit, but only recognized later by Sam Moorhead as a coin of British association.[14] Like the previous coins, it depicts the empress wearing the Beckmann type 5 hairstyle and has the FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL obverse legend. It too dates from autumn 154-December 155 CE. The coin is scarce and unlisted in RIC. I discussed it more than five years ago elsewhere, when I dated the coin based upon Mattingly's (inaccurate) dating of the obverse legend.

FaustinaJrVENVSSCcolumnDupondius.jpg.b7b26245c28406cb5777dddd791d11fb.jpg

Faustina II, 147-175 CE.
Roman orichalcum dupondius, 11.60 gm, 25.5 mm, 2 h.
Rome, autumn 154-December 155 CE.
Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust, right
Rev: VENVS S C, Venus standing left, holding apple and leaning elbow against a column
Refs: RIC –; BMCRE –; Cohen 271; Strack 1323; RCV .
Notes: In 1959, the British Museum obtained a specimen for their collection (
1959,0305.43). See BMCRE p. 857, note about p. 381.


Do you have any coins of British association? I'll bet you do! Check out Sam Moorhead's article and look in your numophylacium. Of course, please post comments, questions, or anything you deem relevant.

~~~

Notes


1. Moorhead, Sam. "'Coins of British Association,' after David Walker and David Shotter, with Additions by Sam Moorhead." Academia.edu, 26 May 2015,
https://www.academia.edu/12608461/Coins_of_British_Association_after_David_Walker_and_David_Shotter_with_additions_by_Sam_Moorhead.

2. Walker, D. R. Roman Coins from the Sacred Spring at Bath. Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, Fascicle 2 of Monograph No. 16, Oxford, 1988, pp. 294-95.

3. Moorhead, op. cit.

4. Clay, Curtis L. "
The Supply of Bronze Coins to Britain in the Second Century." Numismatic Chronicle, vol. 149, 1989, pp. 213-15.

5. Moorhead, op. cit., pp. 1-2.

6. Walker, op. cit., pp. 294-95. Clay (op. cit., p. 216) notes an additional eleven asses of the type in the Croydon hoard.

7. Moorhead, op. cit., pp. 7-8.

8. Walker (op. cit.) notes 9 dupondii and 65 asses of this type in the Bath deposit. Only one coin, an as, had the veiled bust.

9. Clay, op. cit., p. 215, notes four dupondii and six asses of this type in the hoard.

10. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, pp. 51 ff.

11. 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.

12. Walker, op. cit., pp. 294-95. There were 32 asses and one dupondius. See also Moorhead, op. cit., pp. 10-11. Clay (op. cit., p. 216) notes six asses of this type in the Croydon hoard.

13. Clay, op. cit., pp. 215-16, notes seven dupondii and three asses of this type in the Bath deposit and eleven dupondii in the Croydon hoard.

14. Moorhead, op. cit., pp. 11-12, citing Allen, Martin. "Coin Register 2011." British Numismatic Journal , vol. 81, 2011, pp. 260–292; coins no. 28-31, p. 270.

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12 hours ago, Ryro said:

Since I've no coins with the British association, I can only let you know how much I "cherish" your Faustina Fridays with The Associations...

 

Thank you for your kind words and for the sunshine pop!

Faustina asks me if there will come a time when I don't desire her. My answer is always ...
 


 

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I have a couple of coins that seem to be 'of British association' but not of Faustina.

Antoninus Pius As, 154-155
image.png.3b0ed2cd57db120a798388be4259ca0f.png
Rome. Bronze, 26mm, 10.41g. Laureate bust of Pius right, no drapery on left shoulder; ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVIII. Felicitas standing left, holding corn ears and winged caduceus; FELICITAS COS IIII / S C (cf RIC III, 937).

Antoninus Pius As, 154-155
image.png.2399d8d4e8b9764bb5c5ff82c350f1fc.png
Britain or Rome. Bronze, 8.63g. Laureate head right; ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVIII. Britannia seated left on rock, resting head on hand; arms in background; BRITANNIA - COS IIII around; SC in exergue (RIC III, 934).

Moorhead lists coins quite a bit earlier than 155 as 'British association', specifically from the reigns of Nerva and Hadrian. I think this is one of them, formerly RIC II, 577b.

Hadrian As, 119
image.png.7953237d54b64733e6e4f2764119b310.png
Rome. Bronze, 10.00g. Laureate bust right; IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG. Britannia seated facing, holding sceptre, large shield to right; PONT MAX T R POT COS III; S C; BRITANNIA in exergue (RIC II.3, 241).

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Those are wonderful examples, @John Conduitt! And you're right that the Hadrian with the Britannia reverse should be considered "of British association," but I'm not sure that all the coins in Moorhead's article warrant that moniker. For example, the Ceres seated on cista bronzes of Sabina are also found on the continent and were apparently not produced specifically for use in Britain, even though they are part of the Bath deposit. I struggled with the nomenclature in my post because some earlier issues, especially those with Britannia-related reverse types, warrant the label, whereas others in Moorhead's paper probably don't warrant the label, but were coins issued for general circulation that just happened to end up in the Bath hoard. I'm not entirely sure, either, that coins mentioned in @curtislclay's discussion of the relevant British hoards were exclusive to Britain -- the Faustina II coins with the Diana reverse type and the type 5 hairstyle, specifically. The issue with the type 2 hairstyle was clearly not limited to Britain; whether the ones with the type 5 hairstyle were is not clear. I have yet to see an analysis of the coins focusing on the hairstyle in particular and its representation in the various hoards. The middle bronzes of the Diana type are scarce and those with the type 5 coiffure are rarer still.

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Another terrific Faustina Friday, @Roman Collector.  These "British Association" issues are very interesting - nice to see that fine selection by @John Conduitt too. 

These Faustina Fridays often inspire me to go over the relevant coins in my collection to clean-up attributions, etc.  This time around I looked to gather all my British Association specimens in one group - to my surprise I found I had a Hadrian as that I'd missed, and, sadly, a Marcus Aurelius as that I can't find (RIC 1317 - or an imitation of one - as I recall it is quite pitiful-looking - FOUND IT! see below).  Anyway, here are mine:

Hadrian-AsSalusMar2020(0).jpg.7fd20d27309fd34b5b160a0ab18a50b2.jpg

Hadrian Æ As (128-132 A.D.) Rome Mint HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS PP, laureate bust right, slight drapery right shoulder? / COS [II]I S C, Salus standing right, feeding snake out of patera. RIC 975b (no drapery); 975c (slight drapery r. shoulder) (8.67 grams / 26 mm) eBay Mar. 2020

Attribution:  OCRE dropped 975b/c distinction (Mar. 2023)? This one appears to be draped.

"British Association" Type:  See Sam Moorhead, "Coins of British Assn.," D. R. Walker, Roman Coins from the Sacred Springs at Bath and Curtis Clay "The Supply of Bronze Coins to Britain..." This is Walker p. 293 nos. 1-52, Pl. XXXIII

AntoninusPius-DupondiusLibertasJuly2019(0aa).jpg.a3b954e1101d68234902180bd8b7f4e4.jpg

Antoninus Pius Æ Dupondius (153-154 A.D.) Rome Mint ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TRP XV[II], radiate head right / LIBERTAS COS IIII S-C, Libertas standing right holding pileus right hand, left extended. RIC III 920; BMCRE 1948; Cohen RSC 539. (12.38 grams / 24 mm) eBay July 2019

Attribution: Weak obv. legend: RIC 920 (XVII) or 932 (XVIII).  Based on obverse die-match, this seems to be RIC 920 (XVII)

Die-Match Obverse:  The Academic Coin Cabinet of the Archaeological Collection of Rostock University ID249

"British Association" Type:  See Sam Moorhead, "Coins of British Assn.," D. R. Walker, Roman Coins from the Sacred Springs at Bath and Curtis Clay "The Supply of Bronze Coins to Britain..." This is Walker pp. 294 & 297-298, nos. 6-7, Pl. XXXIV

FaustinaIasAETERNITJun2019(0).jpg.741f6dd3f4025014c072bb577d71cda8.jpg

Faustina I Æ As (c. 153-155 A.D.) Rome Mint (British Assn.) DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right / [A]ETERNITAS S-C, Pietas standing left, raising right hand and holding box of perfumes (no altar). RIC III Ant. Pius 1162a (as); BMCRE 1542; Cohen RSC 44. (10.04 grams / 26 x 23 mm) eBay June  2019

Notes: "OCRE erroneously describes the reverse as 'Providentia holding globe & sceptre.'" (Roman Collector Coin Talk).

"British Association" Type:  See Sam Moorhead, "Coins of British Assn.," D. R. Walker, Roman Coins from the Sacred Springs at Bath and Curtis Clay "The Supply of Bronze Coins to Britain..." Walker pp. 295 & 298 nos. 298-362, Pl. XXXVII

This one came from an eBay seller in Estonia - which is a ways away from Britain (assuming it was discovered there).  This fits with the "not entirely minted for Britain" status of some of these Bath, England finds.  And as @Roman Collector notes, this issue was minted several years before the c. 155 A.D. shipment to Britain (as noted above):

FaustinaI-DupCeresEstoniaSep2020(0).jpg.d1da449ac7c438f18cc9e684693cd86b.jpg

Faustina I Æ Dupondius (c. 145-147 A.D.) Rome Mint (British Assn.?) DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right / AVGVSTA S-C, Ceres standing left holding short torch in raised right hand and corn-ears in lowered left hand. RIC III Ant. Pius 1171a (dup.); BMCRE 1568-1571; Cohen 89. (12.69 grams / 26 x 25 mm) eBay Sep. 2020 (Estonia)

"British Association" Type:  See Sam Moorhead, "Coins of British Assn.," Walker, etc. "The 2nd most common type for Faustina I found in the deposit at Bath was the Ceres standing left holding short torch and two corn ears...This type was probably not part of the shipment of bronze coins to Britain in 155 because it was issued several years earlier." (Roman Collector NF)

This one came from a local dealer for cheap.  It looks a bit soapy to me, possibly a cast.  It seems I read somewhere that local imitations of the "British Association" types have been found - a kind of "limes" situation perhaps?  A lot of asses of Claudius were made locally a century or so before, so there is certainly a tradition of local coin minting (or casting):

FaustinaII-DupondFELICAug17comb.JPG.56d9d338e8fd01e3914d7161cef95747.JPG

Faustina II     Æ As/Dupondius (Autumn 154-Dec. 155 A.D.) Rome Mint (British Assn.) [FAVSTINA AVG] PII AVG FIL, draped bust right / FELICI[TA]S S-C, Felicitas standing left, holding caduceus, left hand on hip. RIC III Ant. Pius 1395 (as/dup.); BMCRE 2187; Cohen RSC 108. (10.10 grams / 24 x 23 mm) A-Z Aug. 14, 2017

"British Association" Type:  See Sam Moorhead, "Coins of  British Assn.," D. R. Walker, Roman Coins from the Sacred Springs at Bath and Curtis Clay "The Supply of Bronze Coins to Britain..." This is Walker pp. 295 & 299, nos. 437-68, Pl. XXXVIII. (One dupondius at Bath, Walker p. 299 no. 436).

*********************** BREAKING NEWS *************************

Found the Marcus Aurelius "British Association" type.  It is quite awful, possibly cast.  There are two Marcus Aurelius types one in RIC, one not, based on the TRP number.  This one's so bad it is impossible to tell which it is (Moorhead's article discusses these).  It is brassy like a dupondius, but very light weight, so I'm not sure about the denomination either:

MarcusAurelius-AsMinervalotMay2022(0).jpg.8df8d78c24ecd27793b4af38436dbbab.jpg

Marcus Aurelius    Æ As / Dup. (153-154 A.D.) Rome Mint [AVRELIVS] CAESAR [AVG PII FIL], bare-headed, draped bust right, seen from the back / TR [POT VI?]II [C]OS II, S-C, Minerva standing left, holding owl and spear, shield at feet. RIC III Antoninus Pius 1317? (8.23 grams / 24 x 23 mm) eBay May 2022 

Notes:  Two types possible: 

RIC 1317:  TR POT VIII

Not in RIC:  TR POT VIIII

"British Association" Type:  See Sam Moorhead, "Coins of British Assn.," D. R. Walker, Roman Coins from the Sacred Springs at Bath and Curtis Clay "The Supply of Bronze Coins to Britain..." Walker pp. 295 & 298, nos. 363-73, Pl. XXXVII / or Walker p. 298, no. 374.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Marsyas Mike
Added Marcus Aurelius British Association type
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