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Rarest Issue of Travel Series

367, Lot: 492. Estimate $300.
Sold for $10000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Hadrian. AD 117-138. Æ Dupondius (26.5mm, 14.27 g, 12h). Travel series. Rome mint. Struck circa AD 134-138. Laureate and draped bust right / BRITA N NIA, S C in exergue, Britannia seated left, head facing, foot on rock, resting head on hand and holding scepter, elbow resting on large shield to right. RIC II 846; SCBC 637A. VF, dark brown patina, some roughness, struck from clashed reverse die. Very rare, and the rarest issue of Hadrian’s Travel Series, with about 10 dupondii and six sestertii known. One of only two dupondii in CoinArchives. Not to be confused with the relatively common earlier issue of asses with BRITANNIA PONT MAX TR POT COS III S C.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group 70 (21 September 2005), lot 961.

Between the years 119 and 136 AD, the emperor Hadrian travelled throughout the Roman Empire, visiting various provinces to take stock of his inheritance and calm the disquiet which had arisen in the later years of Trajan's reign. His travels can be divided into two major episodes. The first tour was designed to shore-up Rome's northern borders and began sometime around 119 AD when Hadrian first visited the provinces of Gaul and Germania Inferior and Superior. The emperor then crossed the Channel to Britannia (lot 961) where, during his stay, construction began on a seventy-three-mile long wall across the north of the province, known to this day as Hadrian's Wall. In 122-123 AD, Hadrian spent time in Hispania (lots 962-963), then travelled East to Asia Minor. The remainder of this first tour was spent in the Balkans (lot 964) and Greece, touring such areas as Dacia and Achaea, before returning to Rome, via Sicily, in 126 AD.

Hadrian's second tour began in 128 AD, when he set out on a short tour of the provinces of Africa (lots 965-966) and Mauretania (lot 967). Returning for a brief stay in Rome, Hadrian then went again to Asia Minor, and continued into Syria and Palestine. In 130 AD, Hadrian moved on to Egypt (lot 968), where he visited Alexandria (lot 969). It was while Hadrian was on tour in Egypt that his favorite, Antinoüs, mysteriously drowned in the Nile (lot 970). The bar-Kochba revolt in Judaea forced Hadrian to remain in the region until 135 AD. In 136 AD Hadrian returned to Italia, ending his long travels.