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Antoninus Pius Sestertius Looking Like Hadrian - Heroic Bust (not Head) with Aegis/Drapery


Marsyas Mike

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Without really trying, my scruffy collection of Antonine-era AEs now includes several RIC/OCRE variants.  At first I thought this meant I was lucking into rarities, creating a World-Historical Collection of Great Importance from eBay scavenging, but the more I poke around, the more I see that RIC/OCRE needs an revision along the lines of the one they did for Hadrian.  In other words, a lot of these "rare" variants are fairly common.  In other words, my collection is not all that world-historical or important ☹️.  But I am having a lot of fun 😄.

As for Antoninus Pius variations, most of them have to do with drapery (no drapery vs. slightly draped shoulder), an occasional aegis, and denomination (known only as a dupondius, but oops, here's an as).  I was going to do a full thread on the variations I've encountered, but I think I'm up to almost a dozen and they are mostly quite poor in quality and I am quite lazy.    

So I'll just share this new one - which is worn, but not too ugly.  It is also a rather dramatic departure for the type as it shows not just the addition of drapery, but goes from the usual head, but a full-blown Hadrianic bare-chested bust - with an aegis (maybe; see below). 

The coin in question is one of only two types (per my OCRE search) for Antoninus Pius featuring Honos (not counting the types issued for Marcus Aurelius during Pius's reign).  It is RIC 772, a sestertius (the other one is RIC 802, a dupondius).  This is not an especially rare sestertius, OCRE has nine of them here:  http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.3.ant.772  This is a typical one, as found in the British Museum: 

AntoninusPius-SestertiusHonosRIC772-BritMuspic.png.e4859df6d8fd60fb37022aee5e13facc.png

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_1872-0709-650

Yep, that's your basic Pius sestertius with a laureate head, dignified expression.  However, here is mine: 

AntoninusPius-SestertiusHonosRIC772w.aegis-MINEAp2023pic0.jpg.485f41d404f8c413e4e42ecf348ab700.jpg

Antoninus Pius     Æ Sestertius (c. 145 A.D. or 147-148 A.D.) Rome Mint ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P, laureate bust right with drapery front & back, aegis / HONO[RI AVG] COS IIII, S-C Honos standing front, head left, holding branch and cornucopiae. RIC III 772 var.; BMCRE 1686; (27.58 grams / 31 x 29 mm) eBay April 2023 (France) 

Die-Match Obverse:  Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 389; Lot 666; 18.01.2017 c. AD 147-148. "slight drapery" Classical Numismatic Group Mail Bid Sale 67; Lot 1533; 22.09.2004 Struck 145 AD. "wearing aegis" British Museum Museum number R.13653 (some die discrepancies?)

Notes:  Typically found with laureate head, this has bust with drapery front and back, with aegis.  OCRE/RIC says "cornucopiae, tip turned away from body"  Dates:  OCRE/RIC: 145-161 A.D. CNG: c. 145 A.D. and 147-148 A.D. in separate auctions

"Heroic" bust, bare chest with... a big triangle on chest?  He almost looks like Hadrian!  As with most of these "variations" I found several others; unfortunately the descriptions are a bit wobbly.  As you can see in my attribution notes, the British Museum calls it (the triangle) an aegis; but two different CNG auctions (die-matches to boot!) have different descriptions (and dates of issue).  RIC/OCRE, are you reading this?  Help!

Inexpertly, I'm going with drapery on shoulder, front and back (not "draped") with an aegis (since the triangle seems to have little thingies (snake heads?) sticking out from it, more visible on higher grade versions).  And there is definitely an extra drapery line along the back underneath the two laurel ties.  Other opinions welcome. 

Now for some die-matches.  Here is mine with the two CNG examples noted above - not so rare after all!:

AntoninusPius-SestertiusHonosRIC772w.aegis-MINEAp2023pic0comp.jpg.24b87573d2b1815751dd2766b345ffe3.jpg

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=3673755

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=187521

Here is mine and the British Museum example; there are some discrepancies, but also a lot of similarities, so I'm not sure if it is a die-match, perhaps with one of the dies having been reworked.  Did the ancients rework dies that were wearing out?  I assume so, but assuming is what I do best.  

AntoninusPius-SestertiusHonosRIC772w.aegis-MINEAp2023pic0compBM.jpg.4c32ca78abd2223e8247ebf832546e01.jpg

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/C_R-13653

I never did find a reverse die-match to mine - it has a weird skinny cornucopiae that is similar to the British Museum's, but not a match, no matter how hard I squint.  

I'd love to see other bust/aegis types for Antoninus Pius as well as Honos reverses.  Also, feel free to share Antonine-era "not in RIC" types - I'd bet @Roman Collector has a gazillion for the Faustinas.    

 

Edited by Marsyas Mike
Cleaned up the typos.
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Thanks for this. Very interesting! I agree that the "heroic bust" is almost Hadrian-ish in style. I have nothing to contribute for Antoninus Pius himself, but here's a Honos reverse issued during his reign for a young Marcus Aurelius. If I remember correctly, Honos is notable as the only male among the personifications appearing on Roman Imperial coins (apart from the various "Geniuses"). And even as such, isn't common: according to OCRE, he is portrayed standing alone on Imperial reverses only under Hadrian and Antoninus Pius (including for Marcus Aurelius), and appears paired with Virtus only under Galba, Vitellius, and Vespasian.

Marcus Aurelius Caesar (under Antoninus Pius) AR Denarius, 145-146 AD, Rome Mint. Obv: Bare head right, clean-shaven, AVRELIVS CAE-SVG PII F / Rev: Honos standing left, holding branch and cornucopiae, COS II. RIC III Antoninus Pius 429a, RSC II Marcus Aurelius 110 (p. 202), BMCRE IV Antoninus Pius 594 (p. 85), ERIC II 301, Sear RCV (1981 ed.) 1279; A. Pangerl, "Vier Jahrzente Portraits des Marcus Aurelius auf römischen Reichsmünzen," 500 Years of Roman Coin Portraits (2d ed. 2017), pp. 318-333 at p. 324 Tabelle 1 (No. 3.10) & p. 326 (No. 10) [dated to 145-146 AD and classified at p. 439 as “Type 3: long head shape of adolescent boy; beginning moustache, increasing but discrete side burns”] (noting at p. 324 that "RIC gibt keinen Barttyp an").  18.2 mm, 3.3 g.

image.jpeg.5f0e7926c1c2b31e4a79aa1a6636ad8d.jpeg

 

Edited by DonnaML
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22 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Thanks for this. Very interesting! I agree that the "heroic bust" is almost Hadrian-ish in style. I have nothing to contribute for Antoninus Pius himself, but here's a Honos reverse issued during his reign for a young Marcus Aurelius. If I remember correctly, Honos is notable as the only male among the personifications appearing on Roman Imperial coins (apart from the various "Geniuses"). And even as such, isn't common: according to OCRE, he is portrayed standing alone on Imperial reverses only under Hadrian and Antoninus Pius (including for Marcus Aurelius), and appears paired with Virtus only under Galba, Vitellius, and Vespasian.

Marcus Aurelius Caesar (under Antoninus Pius) AR Denarius, 145-146 AD, Rome Mint. Obv: Bare head right, clean-shaven, AVRELIVS CAE-SVG PII F / Rev: Honos standing left, holding branch and cornucopiae, COS II. RIC III Antoninus Pius 429a, RSC II Marcus Aurelius 110 (p. 202), BMCRE IV Antoninus Pius 594 (p. 85), ERIC II 301, Sear RCV (1981 ed.) 1279; A. Pangerl, "Vier Jahrzente Portraits des Marcus Aurelius auf römischen Reichsmünzen," 500 Years of Roman Coin Portraits (2d ed. 2017), pp. 318-333 at p. 324 Tabelle 1 (No. 3.10) & p. 326 (No. 10) [dated to 145-146 AD and classified at p. 439 as “Type 3: long head shape of adolescent boy; beginning moustache, increasing but discrete side burns”] (noting at p. 324 that "RIC gibt keinen Barttyp an").  18.2 mm, 3.3 g.

image.jpeg.5f0e7926c1c2b31e4a79aa1a6636ad8d.jpeg

 

That is a lovely denarius, Donna. Thank you for sharing it - I think that is the most detailed reverse branch I've ever seen on a Roman coin - leaves and buds?  

Indeed, Honos is a bit of an unusual deity for Roman Imperials.  I just did an OCRE search and came up with 35 total (conforming to what you said in your post).  Out of the 35, 19 of them were for Marcus Aurelius, all issued under the authority of Antoninus Pius.  As far as I can tell, the OP sestertius and matching dupondius were the only ones issued for Antoninus Pius.  

I have a very worn & overly-scrubbed version of your denarius:

MarcusAurelius-DenariusHonosJul2019(0).jpg.98409204bce44f3e7be06a9eaa69c858.jpg

Here is the sestertius version - I am very fond of the portrait on this one:

MarcusAurelius-Sest.HONOSlotJul2022(0).jpg.eff3d9fbd055483be6ff4d7ecf0bb39b.jpg

Marcus Aurelius  Æ Sestertius (140-144 A.D.) Rome Mint  [AV]RELIVS CAE SAR AVG PII F COS, bare head right / H[O]NO[S], S-C Honos, togate, standing left, holding branch and cornucopiae holding sceptre and cornucopiae RIC III Antoninus Pius 1231. (27.68 grams / 32 x 30 mm) eBay July 2022 

Die-Matches Obverse: *Savoca Numismatik Live Online Auction 7; Lot 501; 28.02.2016 *Roma Numismatics Limited E-Sale 17; Lot 730; 25.04.2015 *MA Shops, MA-ID: 149600202 Sondermann Numismatics

Die-Match Reverse: *Numismatik Lanz München Auction 94; Lot 604; 22.11.1999

 

 

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There are all sorts of varieties on the coins of Faustina I and II that aren't in RIC. These range from variations in obverse legend or reverse legend, to reverse types that are rare and unknown to Mattingly and Sydenham when they wrote RIC, to variations in reverse iconography (such as Fecunditas or Laetitia looking right instead of left), hairstyle varieties (on Faustina II coins, but none of the catalogs goes into such depth). In terms of BUST varieties -- which is the subject of this thread -- the presence or absence of a veil or a left-facing portrait or the presence of a stephane are the main sources of variety. Often these varieties are listed in other references, such as Strack or MIR and are not entirely unknown. Mattingly and Strack relied heavily on Cohen and the British Museum collection as source materials and didn't often bother to consult the museum collections in Berlin or Vienna. So "unlisted in RIC" doesn't necessarily mean "a great rarity."

This denarius of Faustina I with a veiled bust is unlisted in RIC, for example. I've never posted this one before.

FaustinaSrAVGVSTACereslongtorchandholdingskirtdenariusveiledbust.jpg.a19d9bc82e5f13fcf59628815244f1b4.jpg
Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.07 g, 16.5 mm, 6 h.
Rome, 145-147 CE.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, veiled and draped bust, right.
Rev: AVGVSTA, Ceres (?) standing left, holding long torch and raising hem of skirt.
Refs: RIC --; BMCRE 421n.; Cohen --; RSC 104a; Strack 468; RCV --; CRE--.
Notes: Strack cites Berlin, Vienna, and 2 specimens in the Reka Devnia hoard. Other specimens previously sold: Naumann 75, 647; Peus 426, 269, and Sphinx specimen at Wildwinds. This is a double-die match to the Naumann, Peus, and Sphinx specimens.

 

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38 minutes ago, ominus1 said:

...i like that coin MM..a great color and enough detail with just the right amount of wear to let you know it was circulated..  here's  my dupondius  your thread motivated me to repic...:)   Antoninus Pius, 25mm, 11gms

IMG_1687.JPG

IMG_1686.JPG

Niiiice.  I want one of those!  

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8 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

There are all sorts of varieties on the coins of Faustina I and II that aren't in RIC. These range from variations in obverse legend or reverse legend, to reverse types that are rare and unknown to Mattingly and Sydenham when they wrote RIC, to variations in reverse iconography (such as Fecunditas or Laetitia looking right instead of left), hairstyle varieties (on Faustina II coins, but none of the catalogs goes into such depth). In terms of BUST varieties -- which is the subject of this thread -- the presence or absence of a veil or a left-facing portrait or the presence of a stephane are the main sources of variety. Often these varieties are listed in other references, such as Strack or MIR and are not entirely unknown. Mattingly and Strack relied heavily on Cohen and the British Museum collection as source materials and didn't often bother to consult the museum collections in Berlin or Vienna. So "unlisted in RIC" doesn't necessarily mean "a great rarity."

This denarius of Faustina I with a veiled bust is unlisted in RIC, for example. I've never posted this one before.

Yep, I knew there was going to be a lot of Faustina I/II variations out there.  Thanks for sharing, RC.  

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