Faustina Senior Roman Empire silver denarius coin, 3.03g, RIC 396 (rare).
Posthumous consecration issue, 138-140/1 AD, issued by her husband Emperor Antoninus Pius.
Important historical reverse architectural type with structure that can be seen in Rome today.
Certified by NGC to Ch VF.
Pedigree: Ex. Coin Galleries, MBS 4/9/86, lot 315 (with auction ticket).
Obverse: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, draped bust right.
Reverse: PIETAS AVG, Hexastyle temple with statues.
The temple was begun in 141 AD by the Emperor Antoninus Pius and was initially dedicated to his deceased and deified wife, Faustina the Elder. When Antoninus Pius was deified after his death in 161 AD, the temple was re-dedicated jointly to Antoninus and Faustina by his successor, Marcus Aurelius.
The building stands on a high platform of large peperino blocks. The later of two dedicatory inscriptions says, "Divo Antonino et Divae Faustinae Ex S.C." meaning, “To the divine Antoninus and to the divine Faustina by decree of the Senate.
The ten monolithic Corinthian columns of its pronaos are 17m (56 ft) in height. The rich bas-reliefs of the frieze under the cornice, of garlanded griffons and candelabri, were often copied from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.
Christianization accounts for the survival of the cella and portico of the temple through the centuries, though it did not preserve the edifice from all damage. The marble cladding of the cella was scavenged. The deep grooves in the temple's columns are supposed to date to a medieval attempt to dismantle the pillared portico, either for spolia or to destroy the pagan temple. Also in the Middle Ages, a staircase was built on the side facing the Forum, but it is now impossible to enter from that side because there is a gap of circa 6m (20 ft) between the foot of the steps and the bronze door. Before the archeological excavations, the ground level was at this door. Excavations in front of the temple were undertaken in 1546, again in 1810, and at intervals from 1876.