I'd been searching for a lifetime issue of Faustina I (Elder) for a while when I spotted this one. A couple of thumbs up from two members here (Thanks Steve and Bob), and although the reverse die is slightly worn , I snapped it up at 40 bucks, a good price IMO! Both sides have full legends and the portrait is really nice!.....The reason why I asked for some reasurance was that I hadn't bought from this vcoins seller before and he only had 2 coins for sale!? (Only one now). Also the price seemed....uuuuum good?...I wrote to the seller and WOW what a surprise as Philipp, the owner, responded quickly and professionally for me an A+ for customer lliason right throughout the purchase...Great communication and will 'certainly buy' from this guy again!
(If he actually puts more coins up for sale?).
Her lifetime issue coins are not particularly rare but are much more difficult to find at a budget price amongst the barrage of Diva issues, this being obviously related to the fact that she was only Augusta for 2 years before her sudden death.
Here's the coin..The sellers photo as I've not had time to photograph it myself but the surfaces look much nicer in hand.
Faustina Major (138-140) Lifetime issue Denarius (2,81g, c. 16/18mm), Rome mint, 139-141 AD.
Obv.: FAVSTINA - AVGVSTA, draped bust right.
Rv.: IVNONI - REGINAE, Juno standing, facing, head left., holding patera and sceptre, peacock at feet.
RIC 338, RSC 215.
I've always been drawn to Antoninus Pius and Faustina the elder's coins..... Good quality, abundant, a multitude of reverse designs and above all can be purchased relatively cheaply within a budget of $25 to $100, you can pick up some stunning coins!....
FAUSTINA I - Senior - Elder...Whatever you want to call her..
Although from Spanish ancestry, she was born in Rome on the 16th of February around 100AD and named Annia Galeria Faustina. She was the daughter of 'Marcus Annius Verus'
who was the son of.....Wait for it............................ 'Marcus Annius Verus'
the elder! ( Imagination zero!, but quite common place to replicate names here in Spain and Italy!)..The family originated from Uccibi (modern day Espejo near Cordoba) in Baetica (Modern day Andalusia) and became wealthy due to their production and supply of olive oil to the Penninsula and Rome. They eventually moved to Rome where her Grandfather was given the rank of senator and praetor. Her father became a prefect and served as consul three times, he was also a good friend of the future Emperor Hadrian.
Her mother was Rupilia Faustina an influential Roman noblewoman, her mothers maternal uncle was Emperor Trajan and her half sister was the future Emperor Hadrian's wife Sabina...
(It's not what you know it's who you know!)
She had 3 siblings two brothers, Consul Marcus Annius Libo and wait for it.............................Praetor 'Marcus Annius Verus'
! So basically Faustina's grandfather, father and brother all had the same name!
. Faustina also possibly had a younger sister her name is lost, but surmised to be Annia, who was the wife of Gaius Ummidius Quadratus Sertorius Severus, suffect consul in 118AD. Also as you can see in the diagram below, her brother went on to marry Domitia Lucilla...They had 2 children Cornificia and the future Emperor Marcus Aurelius (His supposed birth name was.....'Marcus Annius Verus'!
It took quite a lot of research but decided to draw up a more immediate family tree which hopefully helps? It did for me!...
Faustina was born and raised in Rome, from a wealthy family with contacts in high places, beautiful, (although her coins don't particularly convey this), intelligent and so all in all a good catch for her future husband Antoninus Pius. They were both living in Rome as wealthy private citizens and eventually married somewhere between 110/115 AD. She spent a great deal of her time promoting charities that aided the poor notably in the schooling of young Roman children particularly girls.
Once married they produced four children..
Two boys...Marcus Aurelius Fulvius Antoninus and Marcus Galerius Aurelius Antoninus..Unfortunately they both died before 138 AD when their father Antoninus Pius became Emperor. And two girls...Aurelia Fadilla, and of course Annia Galeria Faustina Minor (Faustina II ) who would go on to marry the next future Emperor Marcus Aurelius 'So she actually married her first cousin'!
Faustina elder sadly didn't live long as Augusta and had been Empress for less than 2 years when in 140AD she suddenly died...Frustratingly there seems to be no reference as to how or of what but it certainly devastated the Emperor! He had the senate deify her, there were statues erected and a temple was built in the Roman Forum...The continuation of her Diva coins shows just how well respected and loved this lady was...
Here are some examples from my collection of Antoninus Pius
(RIC#155 type 1)with Faustina elder, lifetime (RIC#338) and Diva (RIC#351) issues, their daughter Faustina II (RIC#502a) and her cousin/husband Marcus Aurelius (RIC#50)..
Luckily/interestingly the Antoninus Pius coin commemorates Pius' fourth largesse distributed to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Faustina II and Marcus Aurelius Caesar in spring 145 AD.
Here's another tree (This one not done by me) which shows the very close family ties..