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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Two Rare Britannia Issues

Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 930. Estimate $6000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008. 
Sold For $7500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Sestertius (20.08 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck AD 143-144. ANTONINVS AVG PI-VS P P TR P COS III, laureate head right / BRITA-N-NIA, S • C in exergue, Britannia seated left on heap of rocks, holding signum in right hand and cradling spear in left arm, leaning on round shield set on helmet. RIC III 742; Strack 825; Banti 44; BMCRE 1637; Mazzini 116 (this coin). Good VF, dark green patina, minor roughness, a hint of smoothing in field on obverse. Very rare, Banti notes only six examples.

Ex New York Sale XI (11 January 2006), lot 304; G. Mazzini Collection, 116.

One of Pius' first actions as emperor was to send Q. Lollius Urbicus, a previous governor of Germania Inferior, to Britain to quell a number of revolts. While most of the sources note the Brigantes (located in Northumbria) as the primary focus of these events, circa 143-144 AD, most of his campaigning was against the lowland tribes of Scotland, the Votadini, Selgovae, Damnonii, and Novantae. His campaigns were successfully completed by 144, after which Urbicus and the Legio II Augusta built the Antonine Wall. This issue of sestertii was struck in commemoration of these events, for which Pius was likely acclaimed imperator for the second time.