Faustina I the Elder, struck under Antoninus Pius
DIVA FAVSTINA, Bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved and piled in bun on top of head: a band of pearls round hair in front
AETER NITAS, Juno, veiled, draped, standing front, head left, raising right hand and holding transverse sceptre in left; S-C left and right, in field.
31mm, 29.2g, 12h
Choice gVF, bold portrait, flan unusually thick and heavy, some pitting from corrosion, attractive patina
Faustina I the elder was born circa 100 AD and died in 140 AD. She was the wife of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, one of the Five Good Emperors. This sestertius was part of a third issue of coinage in her honour after her death and is likely to have been minted some time between the end of the second issue (141 AD) and the end of Antonius Pius's reign as Roman Emperor, most likely toward the end of that reign. A more precise dating is not currently known. The coinage bears the legend DIVA FAVSTINA, not DIVA AVGVSTA, as the title of Augusta had passed onto her daughter, Faustina II the Younger. Aeternitas was the divine personification of eternity. According to Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Antoninus Pius used Aeternitas to emphasise the 'eternal' nature of the Empire in the person of its good Emperors and Empresses. In this case, it was also likely used to honour the legacy of his late wife.