Diva Faustina Senior, died 140/1. Aureus (Gold, 19 mm, 6.87 g, 7 h), Rome, after 147. DIVA FAVSTINA Diademed and draped bust of Diva Faustina to right. Rev. AVGVSTA Ceres, veiled, standing front, head to left, holding two short torches. BMC 403. Calicó 1758a. Cohen 75. RIC 357a. A perfectly struck, lustrous and exceptionally fresh piece. Light traces of mounting on the edge, otherwise, virtually as struck.
Born in circa 105 into an illustrious family - her mother, Rupilia Faustina, was Sabina's half sister and her father, Marcus Annius Verus, praefectus urbi and three times consul - Annia Galeria Faustina brought exceptional wealth into her marriage to Antoninus Pius late in Trajan's reign. Unfortunately, Faustina died in 140 at a relatively young age, only two years after her husband's unexpected succession to the throne. Antoninus was deeply grieved by his loss and had his wife deified and built a temple for her on the Forum Romanum. For the rest of the emperor's long reign, Diva Faustina figured very prominently in the self-representation of the imperial household, symbolizing unity, harmony, and fertility. Her conspicuous association with Ceres, as on our coin, is particularly noteworthy, and when the old emperor died in 161, his and her mutual apotheosis was displayed prominently on the base of the Column of Antoninus Pius devoted by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.