Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 95   |   6 October 2016
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Lot 270





Estimate: 10'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 8'000 CHF Price realized: 9'000 CHF
The Roman Empire
Antoninus Pius augustus, 138 – 161
Dupondius 139, Æ 15.92 g. ANTONINVS – AVG PIVS P P Radiate head r. Rev. AVRELIVS CAES AVG PII F COS DES Draped and bare-headed bust l.; below, S – C. C –. BMC 1206. RIC 1207.
Rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. A superb dark green patina and two
charming portraits of superb style. Extremely fine
Ex Hess-Leu 1961, 193; Leu 30, 1982, 378; NAC 10, 1997, 637; Triton I, 1997, 1478; Triton III, 1999, 1093 and NAC 23, 2003, 1567 sales. Although Antoninus Pius succeeded Hadrian as emperor of Rome, he truly was third or fourth down the line of preference. Hadrian’s first choice as successor was the nobleman Aelius, who was hailed Caesar in 136, but who died unexpectedly after a year in office. Hadrian then determined he would pass the throne to Aelius’ son Lucius Verus – then only seven years old – and to the 17-year-old Marcus Aurelius, who was a distant relative and a close companion. In truth the middleaged Antoninus Pius was merely a surrogate emperor in the eyes of Hadrian, and he remained truthful to his promise to act as guardian for Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Indeed, he was so faithful to the memory of Hadrian that he earned his surname "Pius" because he fought so diligently to convince the senate’s to deify Hadrian. Over the years of his own principate, Antoninus Pius groomed both as his eventual successors, and thus continued the tradition of adoptive succession. He enjoyed a productive and mostly peaceful reign, and unlike Hadrian, who travelled extensively, Antoninus Pius never once left Italy in his twenty-two years on the throne. Unlike the great variety of Hadrian’s coinage on which he celebrates his extensive travels, Antoninus’ reverse types are localized, and on occasion they reflect the attention he paid to the betterment of Rome and Italy. This dupondius is one of his more interesting types, as it bears the portrait of Antoninus Pius on the obverse and that of his elder heir Marcus Aurelius on the reverse.

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