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    Hadrian's Famous Beard

    Hadrian (AD 117-138). AV aureus (20mm, 7.05 gm, 6h). NGC Choice XF ★ 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.  Rome, AD 125-128. HADRIANVS-AVGVSTVS, laureate bust of Hadrian right, drapery on far shoulder / COS-III, Hadrian riding horse at a trot to right, raising right hand. RIC II 186. Strack 146. BMCRE 430-2. Cohen 406 variant (reverse legend break). Calicó 1215a. An uncommonly handsome aureus, with a marvelous large head of Hadrian in superb style, the relief accentuated by attractive light reddish toning in the fields and recesses.

    Ex Golden Gate Collection (Heritage Auctions ANA 3056, 3 August 2017), lot 30017 (realized $12,925).

    This bold portrait displays to good effect Hadrian's famous beard, which was a notable departure from the tradition of clean-shaven Roman rulers. Previous Roman emperors were sometimes depicted on their coins with a scruffy light growth along the jaw line; these instances likely represented a "mourning beard" worn after the death of someone in the Imperial family. Hadrian was the first emperor to sport a full, heavy beard, albeit carefully trimmed. Roman historians present two reasons for his facial hair: (1) to hide unsightly pockmarks on his cheeks resulting from a childhood illness, (2) to show his sympathy with Greek philosophers, traditionally shown as bearded. Whatever his reasons for growing it, Hadrian's beard kicked off a fashion trend for Roman emperors that lasted nearly two centuries, until Constantine the Great brought shaving back into favor.

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2018
    6th-11th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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