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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 111, Lot: 774. Estimate $500.
Sold for $1300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Pupienus. AD 238. AR Antoninianus (22mm, 5.72 g, 12h). Rome mint. 2nd emission. IMP CAES PVPIEN MAXIMVS AVG, Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / CARITAS MVTVA AVGG, clasped right hands. RIC IV 10b; BMCRE 87-91; RSC 3. EF, toned. Struck on a broad flan, with attractive surfaces.

If nothing else, the high quality of portraiture seen on coins of the ephemeral emperors Gordian I, Gordian II, Balbinus and Pupienus, none of whom reigned more than three months, points to the remarkable adaptability of the Roman mint during this tumultuous period. During the year AD 238, die engravers created effigies for no fewer than seven different rulers (Maximinus I, Maximus, the two Gordians, Balbinus, Pupienus, and Gordian III) in rapid succession, yet each portrait is distinctive and, from the evidence of surviving portrait busts, surprisingly true to the unique physiognomy of each emperor.