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    Description

    Pedigreed Aelius Sestertius

    Aelius Caesar (AD 136-138). Orichalcum sestertius (31mm, 25.26 gm, 6h). NGC Choice AU ★ 4/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Rome, AD 137. L· AELIVS · CAESAR·, bare head of Aelius right / TR POT COS II S - C, Concordia seated left on throne, holding patera in outstretched right hand and resting left elbow on cornucopia, CONCORD in exergue. RIC (Hadrian) 1057. Cohen 7. BMCRE (Hadrian) 1918 variant (drapery on shoulder). Minor area of striking weakness on reverse, otherwise a stunning coin with an elegant portrait of Hadrian's first choice for the succession, engraved by a true master, enhanced by a lovely natural warm brown patina.

    Ex Hunter Collection (Goldberg 72, 5 February 2013), lot 4150 (realized $16,500); NFA XII (22-23 March, 1983), lot 271; Glendining's (19 March 1974), lot 68; Churchill Collection (Ars Classica XVI, 1933), lot 1686; Vierordt Collection (Schulman 139, 5 March 1923), lot 1406; Scheyer Collection (Adolph Hess, 1 December 1913), lot 739. 

    This magnificent and extensively pedigreed sestertius bears a lifelike portrait of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Hadrian's "heir consumptive." Aelius began life as Lucius Ceionius Commodus, son of a distinguished senator and consul. Handsome and affable, Lucius attracted the attention of the Emperor Hadrian, who by the mid AD 130s was aging rapidly and searching for a suitable successor. In AD 136, Hadrian formally adopted Aelius as heir apparent. Historians have long speculated as to why Hadrian chose the seemingly unimpressive Aelius, however, the young man may well have been far more competent than chroniclers of the time allowed. In any case, his elevation was duly celebrated with games and coinage bearing the portrait and titles of Aelius. He left for Pannonia in AD 137 to gain administrative experience; however, the climate was hard on his already frail constitution, and he returned to Rome in the winter having contracted tuberculosis. He fell seriously ill on New Year's Eve and died early on January 1, AD 138, prompting Hadrian to remark that he had "leaned against a tottering wall." Aelius's son, Lucius Verus, eventually became co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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