To the other is a portrait of Bruttia Crispina, the doomed wife of the megalomaniac emperor Commodus. The two had married in 178 when Crispina, the beautiful daughter of an illustrious aristocratic family, was just 14 and Commodus around two years her senior.
Succeeding his father as Caesar in 180, he quickly tired of his wife and in 182 banished her to the island of Capri, divorced her a year later, and eventually had her strangled on his orders.
This very rare coin, offered at Roma Numismatics (22.5% buyer’s premium) on March 25, was from an old Swiss collection and had been in the vault of Crédit Suisse Geneva since November 1969. Fresh to the market, it more than doubled hopes at £95,000.