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    Fun-Loving Faustina

    Faustina Junior, wife of Marcus Aurelius (died AD 175/6). AV aureus (20mm, 7.28 gm, 6h).  Rome, AD 161-176. FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Faustina right, hair in bun at nape of neck and done up in ringlets framing her face / SALVTI AVGVSTAE, Salus seated left, resting left elbow on chair and with her right hand holding patera to feed serpent arising from cista at feet to left. RIC (Aurelius) 716. BMCRE (Aurelius) 151. Cohen 198. Calic├│ 2073a. Attractive high relief portrait, residual luster in fields. NGC (photo-certificate) AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex McLendon Collection (Christie's New York, 12 June 1993), lot 147. 

    Annia Galeria Faustina the Younger was born in about AD 129 to Antoninus Pius and his wife, Faustina the Elder. When Antoninus was adopted by Hadrian as his successor in AD 138, the emperor arranged for her betrothal to Lucius Verus, also about eight, the son of the "heir consumptive" Aelius Caesar, who had died the same year. When Antoninus inherited the throne, he broke the engagement and instead betrothed her to his nephew (and adoptive son) Marcus Aurelius. They were wed in AD 145 to great rejoicing and went on to produce at least 13 children, of which only three or four survived to adulthood, among them the future emperor Commodus. Faustina seems to have been a free, fun-loving spirit in the mold of her mother, which earned the disapproval of staid Roman historians. Marcus Aurelius, after he became emperor in AD 161, spent long years on campaign, which must have strained the relationship. Faustina accompanied him on some of these and was given the honorific title "Mater Castrorum," or "Mother of the Camp." Nevertheless, there were rumors of adulteries with soldiers, sailors and gladiators, which do not seem to have altered her husband's devotion to her. More serious are allegations that she had some part in the abortive rebellion of the eastern general Avidius Cassius in AD 175. Whatever the truth, she died soon thereafter, either of illness or as the result of an accident. Reputation or no, Marcus grieved greatly and ordered her deification. The lifetime coinage of Faustina started at the time of her marriage and continued over 30 years, showing her from a fresh-faced princess to a mature matron, and providing a pageant of Roman feminine hairstyles over that span. 

    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
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