Faustina Junior, Augusta, 147-175. Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 7.30 g, 6 h), from uncertain mint in the Balkans, perhaps in the area of present day Romania. DIA FAVSTINΛ AVGVSTA RIII Draped bust of Faustina Junior to right, her hair pulled back in waved bands and fastened in a low bun at the back of her head. Rev. COS IIII Youthful emperor, togate, sacrificing over tripod altar to left. Biaggi -. BMC -. Cf. Calicó 2098a (a coin, wrongly questioned by Calicó, that is struck from what is apparently the same obverse die - Bachofen von Echt 1460 in Vienna, originally published in 1903). MIR -. RIC -. Unpublished but from the same dies as Triton XXI, 2018, 775 CNG 108, 2018, 644- both described as plated, but this piece has been tested and is certainly gold. Of a curious close-to but not-quite Roman style. Extremely fine.
The two previously known examples of this coin, which appeared on the market in 2018, were described as being plated, even though of full weight. This was probably because of some surface deposits, which were left uncleaned, and so it was thought that the ancient "forgers" must have used some very heavy interior metal and then covered it with a very heavy layer of gold. This is 100% unlikely! Most probably, this coin, and the others from the same dies, as well as the Vienna coin, which has been known since 1903, were made by a very talented engraver, who was trained in Roman techniques, but was living outside the Empire, perhaps on the borders of Dacia.
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