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Faustina Friday – Faustina the Younger’s Type 4 and Type 6 Hairstyles

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Friday felicitations a little early, fellow Faustina fanatics! I'm posting a little early because my work schedule for tomorrow won't allow for posting at my usual time. It's Friday in Australia, at least. I hope you have a relaxing and coin-filled weekend ahead. Today's is the final installment in my ongoing series about Faustina the Younger's ten hairdos. I have previously written about the Beckmann Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 5, Type 7, Type 8, Type 9, and Type 10 styles. Today we'll explore two hairstyles that only appear on gold coins or bronze medallions of Faustina the Younger. Because I'm not a millionaire, none of the coins illustrated in this article are from my own collection, nor is it likely that they will ever be. I'm writing this article for the sake of completeness. I will illustrate each of the two types with museum specimens followed by a discussion of the features of the hairstyle that distinguish it from the other types along with remarks about dating and scarcity. It's not a lengthy installment today, and none of you probably have examples from your own collections to share, but I hope you'll find it of interest anyway.

The Beckmann Type 4 Hairstyle


Aureus of Faustina the Younger (RIC 503(a)(3)) demonstrating the Beckmann Type 4 coiffure. ANS 2017.34.1.

On the Type 4 hairstyle, Faustina’s hair is arranged in waves as on the Type 3 style, but these are only visible on the crown of her head. The lower portion of the empress's hair is covered by a band of hair that is drawn back into a small, tight, low, and tapered chignon. It superficially resembles the Type 5 coiffure, but was introduced a few years before the Type 5 hairstyle.[2] Beckmann's die-linkage study of the aurei of Faustina the Younger demonstrates it to have been used on a single obverse die, which was in use simultaneously with numerous dies bearing the Type 2 hairstyle.[1] The die-linkage chain to which it belongs dates to shortly after June 152 CE, when the empress's titulature had reverted to the FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL legend after a nine- to twelve-month period when the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL was used.[3] The type is exquisitely rare, having been produced by a single obverse die. There may be as few as two specimens of the coin in existence.[4]

The Type 4 hairstyle appears also on two bronze medallions, one with a reverse depicting a peacock in splendor and another depicting Venus with cupids. These likely date from June 152 to c. 154 CE.


Large bronze medallion (41 mm, 37.843 g) of Faustina the Younger depicting the empress in the Beckmann Type 4 hairstyle and a peacock in splendor (BMCRM p. 16, 5; Gnecchi 1912 Vol. II, p. 42, 35). British Museum specimen, 1846,0910.244.


Large bronze medallion (41 mm, 46.721 g) of Faustina the Younger depicting the empress in the Beckmann Type 4 hairstyle and Venus Genetrix with five cupids playing (BMCRM p. 16, 2; Gnecchi 1912 Vol. II, p. 40, 13). British Museum specimen, 1872,0709.391.

The Beckmann Type 6 Hairstyle


Aureus of Faustina the Younger (RIC 494b) demonstrating the Beckmann Type 6 coiffure. This AVGVSTI PII FIL, Diana standing left, holding arrow and bow type was the first issue to feature this hairstyle. ANS 1958.223.8.


Aureus of Faustina the Younger (RIC 693) demonstrating the Beckmann Type 6 coiffure. This IVNONI LVCINAE, Juno standing left, holding infant in left arm and with a child standing on either side was the last issue to feature this hairstyle. British Museum specimen, BMCRE 117, 1867,0101.725.

The Beckmann Type 6 hairstyle somewhat resembles the empress's Type 8 hairstyle, in that it features a prominent brow wave, behind which the hair is combed down and forward, toward Faustina's ear. But the brow wave on the Type 6 hairstyle is very elaborate (see the AVGVSTI PII FIL type from the ANS collection shown above), and consists not of a single relaxed wavy line as on the Type 8 coiffure, but of several (four on the ANS example, above) tight squiggles arranged side-by-side.

The Beckmann Type 6 hairstyle first appears on the aurei of the AVGVSTI PII FIL reverse type of August 156 to late 157 CE.[5] The type continued with the DIANA LVCIF reverse type of late 157 CE (RIC 673; see Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien RÖ
36789). Beckmann's die-linkage study demonstrates that coins with the DIANA LVCIF reverse type were produced paired only with a left-facing bust featuring the Type 6 coiffure and in only one of two separate officinae in use.[6] This hairstyle next appears on aurei of the IVNONI LVCINAE type of 159 CE, when the coins were issued to commemorate the birth of Faustina's daughter Fadilla in that year.[7] In contrast to the situation of the DIANA LVCIF type, we see both left- and right-facing busts with the Type 6 hairstyle; moreover, both Type 5 and Type 6 portraits are used, sharing reverse dies, suggesting that the two separate officinae producing coins in 157 CE had merged or had begun to share dies by 159.[8] The Type 6 hairstyle disappears after the IVNONI LVCINAE issue and is absent from the FECVND AVGVSTAE type of December 160 CE, issued to commemorate the birth of Cornificia.[9]

Therefore, despite its resemblance to the Type 8 hairstyle, it is a distinct type. The firm dating of the two hairstyles demonstrates that the Type 6 hairstyle had come and gone fully two years before the Type 8 hairstyle made its appearance on the SALVTI AVGVSTI aurei of late 161 CE.

I hope you found the series of essays on the various hairstyles used by Faustina the Younger helpful if not interesting. Feel free to post comments, coins, or anything you feel is relevant!



1. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021, p. 45.

2. Curtis Clay analyzed the Reka Devnia hoard in the 1980s and determined the Type 5 hairstyle was introduced 81% of the way into Pius's TR P XVIII (10 December 153 – 9 December 154 CE), and thus sometime in autumn of 154 CE. Curtis L. Clay, personal communication, 13 September 2021.

3. For an illustration of the die-link chart, see Beckmann, op. cit., Figure 3.7, p. 43. Curtis Clay, by comparing the denarii of Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Faustina and their representation in the Reka Devnia hoard, elucidated an absolute chronology for the silver issues of Faustina II. In the course of this work, he concluded that the FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL legend was in use for about four or five months beginning about May 151 CE, followed by the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL legend, which was in use for about seven or eight months, from the end of summer 151 to about June 152 CE, after which it reverted to the FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL legend, which was in use through the end of 155 CE. Curtis L. Clay, personal communication, 13 September 2021.

4. Specimen in the Ravel collection (UBS sale 78,
lot 1688, 9 September 2008, acquired by the ANS, and subsequently sold at Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 102, lot 524, 24 October 2017. Also specimen sold at Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 119 (with Jesús Vico), lot 117, 6 October 2020.

5. Curtis Clay, in his study of the Reka Devnia hoard, dates the introduction of the obverse legend FAVSTINA AVGVSTA paired with the AVGVSTI PII FIL reverse legend to about August 156 CE, two-thirds of the way through Antoninus' TR P XIX. Curtis L. Clay, personal communication, 13 September 2021. An end date of late 157 CE has been determined by Martin Beckmann via his die-linkage study of the aurei of Faustina II. Beckmann, op. cit., pp. 50-53.

6. Beckmann, op. cit., Figure 4.2, p. 52; discussion pp. 51-53.

7. Strack, Paul L. Untersuchungen Zur Römischen Reichsprägung Des Zweiten Jahrhunderts. Kohlhammer, 1937, pp. 113-18. So too 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. lxxiv. See also Fittschen, Klaus, "Die Bildnistypen der Faustina Minor und die Fecunditas Augustae," Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, Philologisch-historische Klasse, 3rd Series, no.126, Göttingen, 1982, p. 29.

8. Beckmann, op. cit., pp. 53-55.

9. Strack, op. cit., pp. 113-118. The date is well-established by parallel issues containing Antoninus Pius’s TR P XXIIII COS IIII (December, AD 160- March, AD 161) and Marcus Aurelius’s TR POT XV COS II DESIG III (10 December - 31 December, AD 160) inscriptions.

Edited by Roman Collector
Correction of obverse description
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What is going on???


I can already see where this is headed...


Ok, ok, I'll stop losing my mind.

I do love the hairstyle type 4. It's wavey and fun. Do you have a fav or favorites when it comes to her hair?

Is this a 4?


and this a 6?


Faustina II, wife of Marcus Aurelius, 147-175. Denarius (Silver, 19 mm, 2.92 g, 6 h), Rome, 161-175. FAVSTINA AVGVSTA Draped bust of Faustina to right. Rev. VENERI VICTRICI Venus, half-draped, standing to right, leaning on column and holding spear with left and helmet with right hand. BMC 161 ( Marcus Aurelius ). RIC 723 ( Marcus Aurelius ). RSC 240. Scarce. Nearly very fine.

From a Swiss collection, acquired in Germany.


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