Otacilia Severa, Augusta, 244-249. Sestertius (Bronze, 32 mm, 22.46 g, 12 h), Rome, December (?) 245. MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG Diademed and draped bust of Otacilia Severa to right. Rev. PVDICITIA AVG / S C Pudicitia seated left on throne, drawing veil with her right hand and holding scepter with her left; behind her, Felicitas standing front, head to left and with her legs crossed, holding long scepter with her right hand and cornucopiae with her left; to left, two children, one of which stands facing and raises its right hand, the other reaching out to Pudicitia with both hands. Cohen -, cf. 58 (Medallion) and 60 corr. (As, misdescribed as lacking the S C on the reverse). RIC -, cf. 211 (As). Toynbee cf. pl. XLV, 6 (Medallion). Apparently unpublished and unique. A very interesting issue of unusually fine style, struck on a perfectly round flan and with an attractive green patina. Flan crack and somewhat smoothed, otherwise, good very fine.
The emergence of this sestertius fills an important gap in the early Pudicitia series of Otacilia Severa. Its elaborate reverse type, with Felicitas standing behind Pudicitia and one or two children in front, is now known in three sizes, all of which include minor variations: on both the medallion and the as, Otacilia is looking to the left, whereas on our sestertius, she is looking to the right. The medallion also differs in that Felicitas is shown holding a caduceus, whereas on both the sestertius and the as, she is holding a scepter. Last but not least, there is also a variation in the number of children shown, with two on both the medallion and the sestertius, but just one on the as. It has been suggested by C. Clay, in correspondence with this cataloguer, that this special issue was struck in December 245 to be used as a New Year's gift on 1st January, and that the elaborate reverse, reserved for the celebratory emission, was changed to the simplified standard Pudicitia-type of Otacilia Severa in the beginning of 246. The very rare Sestertius with Pudicitia seated to the left and one child in front reported by Roger Bland in two examples in Verona and Copenhagen might thus be a short-lived transitional issue in between.