The portrait on the coin shows a bust of young Hadrian, bare-headed with a draped left shoulder, surrounded by his name and various titles along the border. This coin was struck early in Hadrian’s reign, as signified by the sideburns, as opposed to a full, bushy beard which would be iconic on Hadrian’s later coins. The full inscription shows HADRIANVS AVG. COS. III. P.P. which includes the titles: Augustus and Pater Patriae, signifying Hadrian’s role as Emperor and “Father of The Country” (respectively).
The reverse of the coin is the truly unique aspect to this piece. It shows Hadrian’s adoptive parents, the Emperor Trajan with a right facing diademed bust and Empress Plotina with a left facing draped bust. The stars above each of their heads, along with the inscription of DIVIS PARENTIBVS signify the deification of the late Emperor and Empress. Not only did this ceremony honor the emperor’s predecessor, but by connecting himself to the divine emperor (even through adoption), the process of deification allowed Hadrian to claim his own divinity and solidify his right to rule.
This beautiful gold Aureus weighs 7.29 grams, and was minted in Rome between 134 and 138 A.D. This piece is extremely rare, and is in ‘nearly EXTREMELY FINE’ condition. It is a striking example of an Aureus of Hadrian’s early reign, and an interesting piece for any collection.
Preview this impressive coin and the entire Robert O. Ebert Collection January 11-12, 2013, at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio Official NYINC Auction, held at The Waldorf Astoria, New York. Earlier viewings are also available by appointment in Irvine, California or New York City. To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646 (West Coast) or 800.566.2580 (East Coast).