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Dupondius Antoninus Pius - Crossed cornucopiae


ANTONINUS PIUS. Æ As. Rome, 149 AD Obv. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XII Rev. TEMPORVM FELICITAS, COS IIII in exergue, S C across field, crossed cornucopiae from which a grape bunch flanked by two grain ears hang, surmounted by busts of two boys, vis-à-vis. C. 814 (5F) The infants are thought to represent T. Aelius Antoninus and T. Aurelius Antoninus, the twin sons of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina Junior born in 149 AD. These were the first male offspring of the couple, offering hope for the establishment of the new dynasty, but both died in infancy. The type is taken from the sestertii of Drusus, son of Tiberius, which bore the heads of his twin sons, Tiberius Gemellus and Germanicus, and which were struck in 22/23 when the boys were four years old. Rare coin. Wonderful lacquered light green patina. Bagnolet coin fair, ex. Turquat, 15 Oct. 1994

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Antoninus Pius

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This type is fairly common on sestertii, but rare on dupondii.


Contrary to the common opinion, I think the type commemorates the birth of Faustina II's second child, a male, not twins. The first child, a girl, is shown on the cornucopia on right (sometimes she is given longer hair), while the new arrival, a boy, is on the left. It is a mistake, I believe, to see twins in this type, just because Drusus Caesar had used the same type and his children were twins. There is nothing about the type that requires twins; it is just as appropriate to commemorate the arrival of a second child, especially when that child was the hoped-for boy.

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