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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Portrait of Livilla?
Cover Coin CNG XXI in 1992

Triton XXII, Lot: 996. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $15500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Drusus Caesar. AD 19-23. Æ Dupondius (31mm, 14.18 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck under Tiberius, AD 22-23. PIETAS, veiled, diademed, and draped bust of Livilla (as Pietas) right / DRVSVS CAESAR TI · AVGVSTI F · TR POT ITER, large S · C. RIC I 43 (Tiberius); BMCRE 98 (Tiberius); BN 74. EF, green patina with minor traces of red, trace of earthen deposits.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 38 (21 March 2007), lot 9; Classical Numismatic Group XXI (26 June 1992), lot 305 (illustrated in color on cover).

Claudia Julia Livia, nicknamed Livilla (”Little Livia”), was the daughter of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor, and sister to Germanicus and the future emperor Claudius. Though Roman historians describe her as remarkably beautiful and charming, they also condemn her as a power-hungry adulteress and murderess. Tacitus accuses her of conspiring with her lover, the Praetorian Prefect Sejanus, to poison her husband, the imperial heir Drusus Caesar, who died in AD 23. This coin, struck in the name of Drusus shortly before his death, depicts on the obverse a veiled and classically beautiful woman as Pietas, goddess of religious piety and dutifulness. David Vagi has argued convincingly that the head represents Livilla, given that the other bronze coins issued the same year depict Drusus himself and the couple’s twin sons, forming a “family set.”