Rome, March-December AD 161. IMP CAES L AVREL VERVS AVG, laureate head of Verus right / CONCORDIAE AVGVSTOR TR P, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus standing facing each other, clasping hands; in exergue, COS II. RIC (Aurelius) 451. Cohen 45. BMC 32 note. Calicó 2112. Extremely Rare reverse variety. Nothing short of absolute perfection which you never see like this! Fully struck, 100% perfectly centered, with crisp detail and lustrous surfaces, worthy of the coveted "Gem" designation.
Late in AD 136, Emperor Hadrian adopted a handsome, but otherwise undistinguished aristocrat named Lucius Aurelius Commodus as his intended successor, giving him the name Aelius Caesar. The new heir already had a seven-year-old son, who received the name Lucius Verus, and the boy's place in the dynastic succession seemed secure. But Aelius died of consumption only 16 months later, forcing Hadrian to adopt as his replacement another, rather more qualified senator, Antoninus Pius. Antoninus in turn adopted Lucius Verus and another youth of a good Spanish family, Marcus Aurelius; it is widely assumed that he was following Hadrian's wishes that both young men eventually succeed to the throne. After Hadrian's death, however, Antoninus kept young Lucius in the background while he showed Marcus every preferment. Probably he sensed that Lucius, while handsome and charming, was something of a lightweight and that the sober Marcus was better suited to the burden of government. Nevertheless, when Antoninus died in March, AD 161, Marcus Aurelius insisted that the Senate also grant Lucius Verus the title of Augustus, for the first time giving the Empire two theoretically coequal rulers. Marcus also betrothed his daughter Lucilla to Lucius, further cementing their family ties. This stunning gold aureus was issued at the beginning of the historic joint reign, its reverse shows the two new emperors cordially clasping hands and bearing a legend celebrating the "harmony of our emperors.” One of the best and rarest pieces of this type known to exist.