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Diva Faustina Senior. Died AD 140/1. AV Aureus (18mm, 6.57 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck under Antoninus Pius, circa AD 146-161. DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right, wearing hair bound in pearls / AVG VSTA, Ceres, veiled and draped, standing left, holding lighted torch in each hand. RIC III 357a (Pius); Beckmann dies df –/CB – (unlisted dies); Strack 471α (Pius); Calicó 1758; BMCRE 404 (Pius); Biaggi 807-8; Mazzini 75. Lustrous. EF. A pretty coin.

Ex Provence Collection.

Born into an aristocratic Roman senatorial family of Spanish descent, Annia Galeria Faustina was related to the Emperors Trajan and Hadrian. In about AD 115, she married Titus Fulvius Antoninus, a respected Roman senator. Through her connections, he was drawn into Hadrian’s inner circle and eventually chosen as his successor, achieving the throne in AD 138. Faustina was acclaimed Augusta, or Empress, and Antoninus honored her extensively on the coinage. Her vivacity and compassion for the poor made her popular with the Roman people. Her distinctive hairstyle, with a tight coil adopt her head, was adopted by women throughout the Empire. Only two years into the reign, Faustina died of an unknown illness. The grief-stricken Antoninus secured her deification and issued an immense coinage in her name, the largest for any Roman woman to that point. This attractive aureus falls into the posthumous series.