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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Titus sestertius: unexpected rarity change in new RIC II (2007) 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Titus sestertius: unexpected rarity change in new RIC II (2007)  (Read 572 times)
Charles S
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« on: June 28, 2012, 07:08:26 am »

Having only recently bought the 2007 edition of RIC II, I started to convert my RIC numbers from the old 1926 edition to the new one.  I was not surprised to find many changes in the rarity ratings, untill I came across a Titus sestertius issued under Vespasian (see: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-83299).  I have another example (same dies) in my very small collection of Titus sestertii.  It was RIC 610 C (common) in the old edition.  In the new edition it would correspond to RIC 425 which is rated R2 (very rare). I did not expect that.  Am I overlooking something?
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Charles Schotman

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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 08:10:43 am »

Charles,

It's the difference between "number of specimens surviving" on the one hand, and "desirability to collectors" on the other.

Rarity ratings in the new RIC are based on "number of specimens survivng and known to the authors". Your Titus sestertius is indeed very rare, as confirmed by the die identity of your specimen with the Paris coin illustrated in RIC, and by the absence of that type in the BM collection up to 1976 (p. 140 in BMC).

Now the rarity ratings in the old RIC should theoretically have been based on the same criterion, but in fact they were heavily influenced by Cohen's franc prices. Market prices of course do not reflect absolute rarity: they are much more dependent on the historical or artistic interest of the type, determining how eager collectors will be to add it to their collections.

Titus' standing Roma type on COS II sestertii is very rare, but not interesting: so Cohen 181 correctly gave it the low price of 4 francs, and the old RIC unfortunately followed suit with rating "common"!

Many varieties of IVDAEA CAPTA types on sestertii of Vespasian and Titus are quite common. They are of great interest to collectors, however, so Cohen priced them at 8, 12, or 20 francs. The old RIC again unfortunately followed suit, rating these types "scarce" or "rare"!
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Curtis Clay
Charles S
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 03:22:06 pm »

Thank you Curtis, for your very clear explanation.  It indeed makes a lot of sense and also clarifies why the rarity of my two IVDEA CAPTA sestertii of Vespasian changed from R or S to C3 with the new RIC !
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Charles Schotman

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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 04:09:08 pm »

Charles, I'm glad to see that you got yourself the new Flavian RIC II! With it, I think the enjoyment of your Flavian coins will be greatly enhanced. The introductions to each of the reigns alone is worth the price of admission.
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Cheers, David

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Charles S
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 04:29:28 pm »

David, indeed, I followed your suggestion and got the new RIC II edition right away (got it two days ago).  I'm glad I did: it seems to become pretty much sold out.  I got the last copy from Amazon.  I still have to find my way around, but the concordance table: RIC II first to second edition makes things a bit easier.  I will now gradually put the rest of my Flavian bronzes in my forum Gallery using the new information.  Any comment will of course be highly appreciated.
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Charles Schotman

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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Titus sestertius: unexpected rarity change in new RIC II (2007) « previous next »
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