Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 34

Estimate: 15'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 12'000 CHF Price realized: 20'000 CHF
Antoninus Pius augustus, 138 – 161. Aureus 150-151, AV 7.22 g. ANTONINVS AVG – PIVS P P TR P XIIII Laureate head r. Rev. LAETITIA COS IIII Ceres standing r., holding corn ears and beside her, Proserpina standing facing, head l., holding pomegranate. C 476. BMC 725. RIC 199c. Calicó 1556.
Rare and undoubtedly the finest specimen known. A magnificent
portrait and a very interesting reverse type. A perfect Fdc


Sold by Sotheby’s with Roland Michel, Geneva, 17 November 1989, lot 37.

Sold by Spink Taisei, Zurich, auction 41, 30 April 1992, lot 61.

Privately sold by Freeman & Sear in August 2008.

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 middle-aged 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 traveled 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.

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