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    Perfect Antoninus as Caesar

    Antoninus Pius, as Caesar (AD 117-138). AV aureus (21mm, 7.41 gm, 6h).  Rome, under Hadrian, February 25-July 10, AD 138. IMP T AEL CAES ANTONINVS, bareheaded, draped bust of Antoninus right / TRIB • POT COS •, Concordia seated left on high-backed throne, holding patera in right hand and resting left elbow on statue of Spes. Cf. RIC (Hadrian) 453a (cornucopia beneath throne). BMCRE 1016 note. Cohen 129 variant. Calicó 1488 (this coin illustrated). An astoundingly beautiful piece, deeply struck from fresh dies and fully lustrous. Fleur de coin. NGC (photo-certificate) MS? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex McLendon Collection (Christie's New York, 12 June 1993), lot 131. 

    Following an abortive attempt at naming an heir who predeceased him (Aelius Caesar), Hadrian quickly settled on a solid, reliable senator and ex consul of a good Gallic family, T. Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Antoninus, as his intended successor. After a proper show of reluctance, the 52-year old Antoninus accepted his adoption on February 25, AD 138 and added Hadrian's family name of Aelius and Caesar to his own. Antoninus in turn adopted two other young men, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (the latter being the son of Aelius Caesar); it is widely assumed that Hadrian induced Antoninus to make these adoptions and thus secure the succession for another generation. To smooth Antoninus' path, Hadrian also ordered the executions of two kinsmen whom he suspected of having designs on the throne. The deaths caused widespread loathing and Hadrian's popularity sank, along with his health. Antoninus quickly gathered the reins of power to himself and, when Hadrian died on July 10, his accession was uncontested. However, his association with an unpopular regime made his position weak at first, and his formal request for Hadrian's deification was soundly rejected by the Senate. Only by threatening to resign and plunge the empire into chaos did Antoninus force the Senate to grant his request. In grudging respect for his filial loyalty, the Senate granted him the title of Pius, which appears on his coinage from late AD 138 and after.

    This splendid aureus, which conspicuously lacks the title of Augustus, is generally assigned to the five-month period of Antoninus' Caesarship under Hadrian. Hill, however, places it in the months after Hadrian's death and during Antoninus' dispute with the Senate, during which he renounced the title of Augustus.

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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