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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
11100700

Extremely Rare Dynastic Issue

CNG 111, Lot: 700. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $6000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. AV Aureus (17mm, 6.93 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck circa AD 140. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P •, laureate head left / TR POT in exergue, COS III above, Antoninus Pius, holding scepter in right hand, accompanied by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, standing left in quadriga prancing left. RIC III 93 var. (bust type); Strack 671/δ (unlisted bust type for this issue); Calicó 1494-5 var. (same); BMCRE 239 var. (same); Biaggi –; Jameson –; Mazzini –. Good VF, underlying luster. Extremely rare dynastic issue.


After his own adoption by Hadrian in February of AD 138, Antoninus in turn adopted two other young men, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. It is widely assumed that Hadrian induced Antoninus to make these adoptions and thus secure the succession for another generation. Like Hadrian, Marcus was of an aristocratic Roman family of Spanish origin and distantly related to Trajan. Lucius was the son of Aelius Caesar, Hadrian’s first adoptive heir, who predeceased him. After Hadrian’s death, Antoninus made some adjustments in the future succession, giving Marcus every preferment (including his daughter’s hand in marriage), while shoving Lucius into the background. This aureus, struck in AD 140, still puts the two imperial heirs on fairly equal terms, showing both youths accompanying Antoninus in a processional quadriga. Within a year, Verus disappears from the coinage, while Marcus is clearly marked out as Caesar and primary heir to the throne.