Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 72

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Lot 4148

Hadrian, with Trajan and Plotina, AD 117-138. Gold Aureus (7.2g) minted at Rome, ca. AD 134-138. HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P. Bare-headed, bust right of bearded Hadrian, left shoulder draped. Reverse: DIVIS PAREN - TI - BUS. Bare-headed, draped bust right of Trajan facing diademed, draped bust of Plotina; each with a star above. Calicó 1417; RIC 232B; Hirmer 290. Delicately toned. Extremely rare. Fabulous portraits of Hadrian, Trajan and Plotina, all struck in high relief. An incredible coin of great historical and artistic merit. Lustrous. Superb Extremely Fine.

The remarkable series of seven aureus types to which this coin belongs was issued in the opening weeks of the reign of Antoninus Pius. They were first identified as a homogeneous group by Philip Hill in 1970. Although they revive obverse types from three different phases of Hadrian's reign, all are characterized by the youthful appearance of the portraiture that is clearly intended to idealize the late emperor's features and to emphasize his worthiness to be counted among the Divi, or Imperial gods. The series is best attributed to the period of dispute been the Senate and the new emperor over the deification of Hadrian and the ratification of his acts. Hadrian had never been on good terms with the Roman senators, and they were ill-disposed to honor him following his death. Antoninus' purpose was to eulogize the virtues of his predecessor and adoptive father and to represent him as the chosen successor of the highly revered Trajan and the favorite of the equally popular empress Plotina. Realizing that Antoninus was quite prepared to abdicate over the issue, the Senate bowed to the emperor's will, and Hadrian was duly deified. Antoninus' filial loyalty was respected by the conscript fathers and, in recognition, he received the name "Pius" that appears on all his subsequent coinage, eventually to become a dynastic title.
Estimated Value $50,000 - 60,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex Leu 48, 10 May 1989, lot 351; Leu 2, 1972, lot 389.

Realized $66,125

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