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Faustina Friday – Faustina the Younger’s Greatest Hit!


Roman Collector

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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! I hope your weekend is a coin-filled one!

Some things are inevitable – birth, death, taxes, Zeus cheating on Hera – so you knew this installment was coming. You knew it was just a matter of time until I gave the most common denarius of Faustina the Younger the same
attention that I gave to the single most common denarius issued for her mother. Yes, today we're going to talk about Faustina the Younger's FECVNDITAS denarius, which features the empress as Fecunditas, standing right, holding a scepter and an infant.

In terms of representation in the Reka Devnia hoard, museum collections, and auction sales, no other denarius even comes close to RIC 677. You probably have one in your collection, too. The Captain & Tennille had "Love Will Keep Us Together." Faustina the Younger had RIC 677. This is her greatest hit!!

On the obverse, the empress may wear the Beckmann
Type 7 hairstyle, with or without the stephane, or the Beckmann Type 9 hairstyle. Examples of each in my collection are shown below. Two of them have never been posted here before!


FaustinaJrFECVNDITASdenariusType7hairstyle.jpg.67542c66ac52d22139ba46b9f7cc4b8d.jpg

Faustina II, 147-175 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.20 g, 17.4 mm, 11 h.
Rome, late 162 – early 163 CE.
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right (Beckmann Type 7 hairstyle).
Rev: FECVNDITAS, (Faustina as) Fecunditas standing right, holding scepter and infant.
Refs: RIC 677; BMCRE 92-93; Cohen 99; RCV 5252; MIR 9-4/10b; CRE 176.


FaustinaJrFECVNDITASdenariusstephane.jpg.b3a4edfe98f2f99187fc9a209cccb1ac.jpg

Roman AR denarius, 3.41 g, 19.1 mm, 6 h.
Rome, late 162 – early 163 CE.
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust, right, and wearing stephane (Beckmann Type 7 hairstyle).
Rev: FECVNDITAS, (Faustina as) Fecunditas standing right, holding scepter and infant.
Refs: RIC –; BMCRE 94-95; Cohen –; RSC 99b; RCV –; MIR 9-4/10b diad.; CRE 177.

 

FaustinaJrFECVNDITASdenariusType9hairstyle.jpg.af1df45cfd6caf4898a4281d0dd50929.jpg

Faustina II, 147-175 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 2.87 g, 19 mm, 6 h.
Rome, late 162 – early 163 CE.
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right (Beckmann Type 9 hairstyle).
Rev: FECVNDITAS, (Faustina as) Fecunditas standing right, holding scepter and infant.
Refs: RIC 677; BMCRE 91; Cohen 99; RCV 5252; MIR 9-4/10b; CRE 176.


How common is this?

The Reka Devnia hoard contained 311 examples of this coin,[1] surpassing any of the denarii issued for her under Antoninus Pius and comprising 19% of the denarii issued for Faustina the Younger under Marcus Aurelius in the hoard.[2] Those who cataloged the hoard for the Oxford Museum list them only by RIC number and do not distinguish between those with the Type 7 coiffure and those with the Type 9 coiffure, though they typically will comment on a variety on which the empress wears a stephane, even if not assigned a separate RIC number. They list no specimens of the stephaned variety.

There are 81 specimens at
OCRE. A search for "Faustina 677 denar*" at acsearchinfo yields 416 examples sold at auction as of the time of this writing. It's certainly what you'd call run-of-the-mill.

Let's consider the type in greater detail.

When and why was this coin issued?


Coins of this reverse type were issued to commemorate the birth of Faustina's son, Marcus Annius Verus,[3] named after his great-grandfather, Marcus Annius Verus, the father of Faustina the Elder.[4] Little is known about the boy, but he was still alive after his sister Lucilla's marriage to Lucius Verus in 164 CE.[5] He held the rank of Caesar when he died at the age of seven as a result of an operation for a tumor below the ear, just before Marcus set off for the German war in 169.[6] This implies a birth year of 162. The twins, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and his younger brother Commodus, were born on 31 August, 161. Allowing at least a few months before conceiving again, this implies a birth date in the later months of 162 for Marcus Annius Verus.[7] The sheer number of FECVNDITAS coins issued in commemoration of the birth implies an extended period of production at the mint and I have therefore dated this issue to late 162 to early 163.

Why was this coin issued in such massive quantities?

The birth of Marcus Annius Verus was commemorated on Faustina's coins with no fewer than three reverse designs: the FECVNDITAS, the LAETITIA, and the VENVS GENETRIX types.[8] Obviously, the mint officials in Rome considered the birth of great importance. Indeed, the birth of a male child to the imperial family was cause for much celebration. Even though Marcus Aurelius and Faustina already had an heir (Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus) and a spare (Commodus), childhood mortality was high, and a second spare (Marcus Annius Verus) was very much welcomed. Indeed, two of these three boys died in childhood, leaving only Commodus to inherit the throne upon his father's death.

Do you have a coin of this reverse type? Let's see it! As always, I welcome your comments or anything you feel is relevant.

~~~

Notes


1. "Coin Hoards of the Roman Empire." Reka Devnia 1929, Oxford University.
https://chre.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/hoard/3406.

2. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021, p. 117.

3. Szaivert, Wolfgang, Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus und Commodus (161/192), Moneta Imperii Romani 18. Vienna, 1989, p. 230.

4. Levick, Barbara. Faustina I and II: Imperial Women of the Golden Age. Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 22.

5. Reynolds, Joyce Maire, et al. The Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania. British School at Rome, 1952, p. 33, no. 25.

6. SHA Marc. 21.3: sub ipsis profectionis diebus in secessu Praenestino agens filium nomine Verum Caesarem exsecto sub aure tuber septennem amisit (Just before his departure, while he was living in retreat at Praeneste, Marcus lost his seven-year‑old son, by name Verus Caesar, from an operation on a tumor under his ear). Magie, David. Historia Augusta. I, Harvard University Press, 1921, pp. 184-185. The profectio (departure) is referred to at SHA Marc. 20.6, profiscens ad bellum Germanicum (just before setting out for the German war), set in the context of a shortened period of mourning for Lucius Verus, who died in 169 (Magie, op. cit., pp. 182-183). Coins of Marcus Aurelius with the type PROFECTIO AVG were struck in 169 (BMCRE Marcus
1349 and 1350).

7. So too Levick, who notes his birth to have occurred "towards the end of 162." Op. cit., p. 117.

8. Beckman, op. cit., pp. 60-61.

Edited by Roman Collector
Clarity, new photo
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Yes a common type, but nice.

 

Here are my 4 variations of RIC 677

normal_Faustina_II_7.jpg.1d0c51d7da44a1ab48f6a5774eac380b.jpg

Faustina Minor
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
Ag, 3.55g, 18.2mm
Ref.: RIC III 677, RSC II 99, BMCRE IV 91, CRE 176 var. ((Beckmann Type 9 hairstyle)

 

normal_Faustina_R5960.jpg.8e3fa6c1c93d096b8c4cca870559df1c.jpg

Faustina II
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair waved with two braided bands
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
AR, 3.29g, 18mm
Ref.: RIC III 677 var (two braided bands), CRE 176 var., (same)

 

normal_Faustina_R585.jpg.f84f419d0836346a6088349f79415aa4.jpg

Faustina II
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair waved with one braided band
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
AR, 17.8mm, 3.38g
Ref.: RIC III 677 var (one braided band), CRE 176 [C]
Ex Künker
Ex coll. Hannelore Scheiner

 

normal_Faustina_II_63.jpg.7efe19471837cbc29e1426397fa7de37.jpg

Faustina Minor
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, diademed, draped bust right
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
Ag, 3.47g, 19mm
Ref.: RIC III 677 var. (diademed), CRE 177 [R]

A obverse die match with the example of @Roman Collector

 

Edited by shanxi
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14 hours ago, shanxi said:

Yes a common type, but nice.

 

Here are my 4 variations of RIC 677

normal_Faustina_II_7.jpg.1d0c51d7da44a1ab48f6a5774eac380b.jpg

Faustina Minor
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
Ag, 3.55g, 18.2mm
Ref.: RIC III 677, RSC II 99, BMCRE IV 91, CRE 176 var. ((Beckmann Type 9 hairstyle)

 

normal_Faustina_R5960.jpg.8e3fa6c1c93d096b8c4cca870559df1c.jpg

Faustina II
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair waved with two braided bands
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
AR, 3.29g, 18mm
Ref.: RIC III 677 var (two braided bands), CRE 176 var., (same)

 

normal_Faustina_R585.jpg.f84f419d0836346a6088349f79415aa4.jpg

Faustina II
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair waved with one braided band
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
AR, 17.8mm, 3.38g
Ref.: RIC III 677 var (one braided band), CRE 176 [C]
Ex Künker
Ex coll. Hannelore Scheiner

 

normal_Faustina_II_63.jpg.7efe19471837cbc29e1426397fa7de37.jpg

Faustina Minor
AR-Denar, Rome, AD 161-175
Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, diademed, draped bust right
Rev.: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas standing right holding scepter in right and infant in left
Ag, 3.47g, 19mm
Ref.: RIC III 677 var. (diademed), CRE 177 [R]

A obverse die match with the example of @Roman Collector

 

Fantastic!!!

image.gif.e3991e26f5bda6cc11dc14482ff92185.gif

1 hour ago, ominus1 said:

..i have 1 coin of her....and that's it! 🙂

See?! Her greatest hit!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

1'300 EUR????

FaustinaJrFECVNDITASdenariusGorny.jpg.dea4f9d2cbe58ed8889bbc8756216b18.jpg

 

Well, yes, that’s an original ancient coin, almost 2000 years old!

Just kidding. Sometimes I believe that 10 years ago many people just didn’t have access to databases (or didn’t use them) and didn’t know how much some coins were worth… That’s how I explan some outliers to myself 🤔

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  • 4 weeks later...

I knew about this type but for some reason I misunderstood that it's scarce, not that common. 

Still, I find this coin interesting and I don't regret buying it. 

My example (although I am  not entirely sure the portrait is Faustina, as I see a shocking resemblance with Nerva) 

4441996_1692868580.jpg

Now seriously - what is the correct description of the hairstyle type? Type 7 without braided bands? 

Edited by ambr0zie
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11 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

I knew about this type but for some reason I misunderstood that it's scarce, not that common. 

Still, I find this coin interesting and I don't regret buying it. 

My example (although I am  not entirely sure the portrait is Faustina, as I see a shocking resemblance with Nerva) 

4441996_1692868580.jpg

Now seriously - what is the correct description of the hairstyle type? Type 7 without braided bands? 

Type 7. There is a hint of two braids but they are not prominently engraved. 

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