Roman Collector Posted August 12, 2022 · Patron Share Posted August 12, 2022 (edited) Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina Fanatics! Today we're going to do a die-study of a scarce middle bronze. Three years ago, I purchased this coin from Heritage, who reported it as being part of the Morris collection. Faustina II, AD 147-175/6. Roman Æ as, 9.85 g, 26.0 mm, 6 h. Rome, AD 148-151. Obv: FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, Bust of Faustina II, draped, with band of pearls, left. Rev: VENVS S C, Venus standing right, arranging drapery on right shoulder, and holding apple in her left hand. Refs: RIC 1410b (bust l.); BMCRE 2165; Cohen --; Strack 1304; RCV --. Note: Heritage Auctions, Inc., Auction 271933, lot 35249, 18 August 2019. Ex-Morris collection. I have previously written about this coin. I did a limited die study after I purchased the coin and have examined the various obverse legends used with coins of this reverse type for the purposes of dating the coin. However, I would like to do a detailed die study of this particular issue to correct an error in Cohen, further narrow down its date, and discuss a possible purpose for the issue. This coin has much to teach us, indeed. To begin the die study, I have compiled an inventory of known specimens. From various print and online databases, supplemented by information reported by @curtislclay in a 2010 discussion at Forvm, I have compiled the following list. 1. My specimen (Heritage, ex-Morris collection). 2. British Museum no. 2165. 3. Numismatic Naumann, Auction 72, lot 368, 3 February 2019. 4. Specimen in Vienna (cited by Strack). 5. Specimen in Modena (cited by Strack). 6. Specimen formerly owned by Curtis Clay. 7. Lanz, Graz, IV, 1974, Römische Mittelbronzen, lot 370, pl. XVI. 8. Coin owned by Forvm member The Apostle. 9. Feuardent specimen (Rollin collection, Trau collection, cited by Cohen, Gnecchi, and Strack). 10. Noble Numismatics, Auction 121, lot 4496, 30 July 2019. Of these ten known examples, I have been able to find photographs of six of them. All of them share the same obverse die. Per Curtis Clay, his former specimen and the Lanz specimen share the same obverse die as those illustrated below as well. There appear to have been two reverse dies used.Reverse 1 My specimen (Heritage, ex-Morris collection). British Museum no. 2165. Numismatic Naumann, Auction 72, lot 368, 3 February 2019. This coin is in @shanxi's collection. Coin owned by Forvm member The Apostle. Curtis Clay also notes that the Lanz specimen shares this reverse die.Reverse 2 Feuardent specimen. Note the S C on the reverse has been tooled off to mimic a "medallion." The double die-match with the Noble Numismatics specimen, however, demonstrates it to have been tooled. Noble Numismatics, Auction 121, lot 4496, 30 July 2019. Conclusions from the above die study Because all the coins examined by either me or Curtis Clay share the same obverse die, and because there appear to have been only two reverse dies in use, the coins minted with this left-facing obverse die were issued over an extremely limited period, perhaps only two shifts at the mint. This comes into play when establishing a date for this reverse type as a whole, which I will discuss in more detail, below. The double die-match of the Feuardent and the Noble Numismatics specimens, however, demonstrates the former to have been tooled. Therefore, Cohen was in error in when he considered the type without the S C to be a separate issue.More About the Reverse Type This reverse type was also used for the quinarius aureus denomination, which is extremely rare, with as few as perhaps three known specimens. Quinarius aureus of this reverse type, RIC 514. British Museum specimen, BMCRE 1061. The usual form of the issue with this reverse has a right-facing bust, which is also quite scarce. The variety with the right-facing bust, RIC 1410a. Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., Triton X, lot 644, 9 January 2007. This reverse type, which began on coinage bearing the empress's first obverse inscription, FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL, continues after the introduction of the longer FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL legend. These coins are very rare and known from only a handful of examples. The variety with the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL obverse legend., RIC 1410c. Bertolami Fine Arts, Auction 8, lot 610, 3 February 2014. In the late 1980s, Curtis Clay worked out a chronology for the various obverse legends for Faustina the Younger under Antoninus Pius and concluded the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL legend was in use for about seven or eight months, from the end of summer AD 151 to about June AD 152. Subsequent work by Beckmann was entirely consistent with Curtis's work, though Beckmann was not able to establish an absolute chronology for the various obverse inscriptions. The fact that the quinarius aureus and all three varieties of the middle bronze denomination are very scarce strongly suggests a limited period of production, likely in the summer of AD 151. This is an argument against Curtis Clay's hypothesis that it was a New Year's issue. Moreover, the simultaneous production of an analogous quinarius aureus also argues against this issue being a "New Year’s as."As always, comments are encouraged. Please feel free to post anything you feel is relevant!~~~ Notes 1. The Apostle. "Left Facing Faustina II Bust." Forvm's Classical Numismatics Discussion Board, https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=66266.msg414822. 2. Ibid., reply no. 1. 3. Ibid., reply no. 1. 4. Curtis L. Clay, personal communication, 13 September 2021. 5. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021, p. 42. 6. Ibid., reply no. 1. Edited August 12, 2022 by Roman Collector To tag Curtis and Shanxi 8 2 1 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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