Crispina, Augusta, 178-183/93. Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 7.25 g, 12 h), Rome. CRISPINA AVGVSTA Draped bust of Crispina to right. Rev. VENVS FELIX Venus seated left, holding cupid in her right hand and long scepter in her left; below throne, dove standing left. BMC 49 and pl. 92, 5 (same dies). Calicó 2377b. Cohen 39. RIC 287. Rare. A magnificent piece with a delightful portrait of great sensitivity and an extensive pedigree going back to the late 19th century. Good extremely fine.
Ex 51 Gallery, 29 April 2015, 91, from the collections of Sir Arthur Evans, Ars Classica XVII, 3 October 1934, 876, J. G. Sandeman, Sotheby's, 13 June 1911, 568, and from the G. Sparkes Collection, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 2-3 February 1880.
Crispina was born into one of the wealthiest and most influential families of Rome: her father was Gaius Bruttius Praesens, a senator, twice consul in 153 and 180, and friend of Marcus Aurelius, whom he accompanied in the emperor's campaign against the Quadi, Iazyges and Marcomanni in 178. Commodus, who was also present in the campaign, married Crispina in the same year, an event which was celebrated on a series of coins and medallions. However, the relationship does not appear to have been a happy one, and Crispina was exiled to Capri and executed at some point between 183 and 193 on charges of adultery, perhaps not least because she had failed to give birth to a heir to the throne.