Hadrian's support of orphans
Hadrian. A.D. 117-138. Orichalcum sestertius. 24.57 gm. 32 mm. Rome mint. Struck circa A.D. 124-128. His laureate and slightly draped bust right; IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG / Hadrian seated left on curule chair set on platform, extending hand to child held in a woman’s arms, she rests her hand on another child standing at her side; PONT MAX TR POT COS III around, S C flanking, LIBERTAS RESTI / TVTA in two lines in exergue. RIC II.3 236. RIC II 568 (R2). Very Fine; bold portrait; attractive glossy surfaces; light scattered roughness; some corrosion below bust on obverse; collector's number 'H 42' handwritten in ink on clear lacquer on edge. Very Rare. A handsome example of a difficult and desirable type, celebrating and continuing Trajan's support of orphans in Italy.
This collection of early Roman Imperial bronze was formed by an American collector in the Midwest, buying coins in the 1950's from major London coin houses. He affixed collector 'H' numbers written in ink on lacquer on many of the coins. We have correspondence dated in 1950 and 1951 with Leonard Forrer at Spink & Son, Ltd. and William French at Glendining & Co. Ltd. in London, as well as Earle K. Stanton in Los Angeles, Paul S. Seitz in Pennsylvania, and Edward Gans, Numismatic Fine Arts in New York City.
Hadrian was one of "the most capable emperors who ever occupied the throne and he devoted his whole life to the improvement of the state. His rule was firm and humane and he was also a patron of the arts." (David Sear) He was a philosopher who is renowned for his "Meditations" and inspired Marguerite Yourcenar's "Memoirs of Hadrian."
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