The Adoptive Emperors - Coins of Hadrian, 117 to 138 AD

Hadrian married Trajan’s niece Sabina and was adopted as Trajan’s heir.  Hadrian spent his reign travelling and defining frontiers to ‘fix’ the extent of the Empire. These frontiers included walls in North Africa, Germany and Hadrian's Wall in Britain.  Hadrian also built on a lavish scale. The pax romana which refers to domestic and foreign peace dates from Hadrian’s reign. Unfortunately his own adopted heir Aelius died of tuberculosis while Hadrian was still alive.  Hadrian then appointed Antoninus Pius as heir with instructions to ‘coach’ his two new adopted heirs - 16 year old Marcus Aurelius and the 7 year old Lucius Verus (son of his original heir).

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Silver denarii of Hadrian     Dupondii and Asi of Hadrian

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Sestertii

One 'brass' (or 'orichalcum') sestertius represented one quarter of a silver denarius.
A sestertius was a substantial coin -  measuring about 30-35 mm across and about 3-4 mm thick.

The Romans expressed large sums in sestertii, rather than other coins.
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RC 1754 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius


RC 1754 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius of 30 mm (Rome, 137 AD)
obverse - HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP
reverse - SPES AVG  - Spes (Hope) advancing, holding a flower and raising her skirt.
Hope is always personified as a young girl going out in adult dress for the first time, raising her skirt clear of the mud.
£60

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RC 3303 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius


RC 3303 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius of 30 mm (Rome, 136 AD)
obverse - HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP
reverse - AEGYPTOS - Egypt reclining with basket of fruit, an ibis on a column near her feet.
£75

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RC 1100 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius


RC 1100 - Hadrian
(117-138 AD) - brass sestertius of 30 mm (Rome, 136 AD)
obverse - HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP
reverse - ADVENTI AVG [GALLIAE?]   - Hadrian standing facing Gaul (?) sacrificing over altar.
£100

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RC 3302 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius


RC 3302 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius of 31 mm (Rome, 138 AD)
obverse - HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP
reverse - SALVS AVG - Salus (safety) feeding a snake rising from an altar.
A nice portrait and an attractive patina.
SOLD

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RC 2911 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius


RC 2911 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius of 125AD (33 mm)
obverse -  IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG
reverse -  PONT MAX TR POT COS III - LIBERTAS RESTITVTA (in exergue)
Hadrian seated on dais, his arm outstretched towards woman and child.
A coin with an attractive green patina.
£175

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RC 3319 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius


RC 3319 - Hadrian (117-138 AD) - brass sestertius of 122AD (33 mm)
obverse -  IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG
reverse -  P M TR P COS III - Minerva (goddess of war) sacrificing and holding a spear
A coin with a superb 'glossy' portrait, showing Hadrian's full beard, and an attractive green patina.
£295

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Aelius Caesar, adopted son of Hadrian

RC 2742 - Aelius Caesar - brass sestertius


RC 2742 - Aelius Caesar - sestertius of 137 AD (31 mm)
Aelius was Hadrian's first adopted heir who died in January 138 AD, six months before Hadrian
obverse - AELIVS CAESAR
reverse - (no legend) - Spes (Hope) advancing, holding a flower and raising her skirt.
Hope is always personified as a young girl going out in adult dress for the first time, raising her skirt clear of the mud.
£65

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 If you are interested in buying any of the coins featured on this page,
please email us to check that it is still available, quoting our reference number (beginning RC_).

Silver denarii of Hadrian     Dupondii and Asi of Hadrian

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