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Lot 4149

Aelius, Caesar under Hadrian, AD 136-138. Gold Aureus (7.2g), minted at Rome, AD 137. L AELIVS CAESAR. Bare head right of bearded Aelius. Reverse: CONCORD in exergue; TRIB POT COS II around. Concordia (Harmony) enthroned left, holding patera in outstretched right hand, resting left on cornucopiae. Sear 3962; Calicó 1444; RIC 443. A marvelous portrait struck in high relief. Very rare. Lustrous. Superb Extremely Fine.

In AD 136 the emperor Hadrian, realizing that his health was beginning to fail, adopted Lucius Ceionius Commodus as heir to the throne and bestowed on him the official name of Lucius Aelius Caesar. In order to gain administrative and military experience he was sent to govern the two Pannonias, and on January 1, AD 137, he entered upon his second consulship. However, fate decreed that he was never to be called upon to prove his abilities to govern a vast empire, as he died of a massive hemorrhage on New Year's Day, AD 138, thus predeceasing the emperor by more than six months. It is unclear why Hadrian should have regarded Aelius as a suitable candidate for the succession. The Caesar suffered from tuberculosis, a condition that was aggravated by his addiction to a self-indulgent lifestyle, and it is unlikely that his reign would have been of long duration.
Estimated Value $25,000 - 30,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex Michael F. Price Collection (Stacks, December 3, 1996, lot 186); Ex McLendon Collection (Christie's New York, June 12, 1993, lot 130); Numismatic Fine Arts XII, March 23-24, 1983; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Durkee (Sotheby's November 1972, lot 88).

Realized $71,875

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