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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ VespasianView Options:  |  |  | 

Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

After a successful campaign in Judaea (which he left to his son Titus to finish), Flavius Vespasianus was declared emperor by his troops at Alexandria in 69 A.D. Upon the defeat of Vitellius by the Danubian legions, Vespasian went to Rome and consolidated his power. He built the Colosseum and other important public works. Vespasian was popular, being both down to earth and possessed of great wit. He was responsible for the economic and military recovery of Rome and is justly regarded as one of the greatest Roman emperors.


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This type celebrates the success of Vespasian and Titus in quelling the First Jewish Revolt. Coins commemorating this event are referred to as "Judaea Capta" issues. RIC lists this type as common; we think in error. This is only the second example of the type handled by Forum in nearly two decades.
RS84469. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 1120; RSC II 243; Hendin 1488; BMCRE II 388; BnF III 297; Hunter I 161; SRCV I 2262, F, toned, scratches, weight 2.994 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG TR P, laureate head right; reverse IVDAEA DEVICTA (Judaea Defeated), Jewess standing left, draped, head slightly bowed, hands tied in front of her, date palm tree behind her; ex Spink with their round tag; rare; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


Lot of Six Flavian Denarii, 1 July 69 - 18 September 96 A.D., Unattributed, No Duplicates

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LT84632. Silver Lot, Lot of 6 Flavian unattributed denarii (Vespasian, Titus or Domitian), F - VF, toned, ex CNG, unattributed, no tags or flips, no duplicates, the actual coins in the photographs; $420.00 (€373.80)
 


Lot of Five Flavian Denarii, 1 July 69 - 18 September 96 A.D., Unattributed, No Duplicates

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LT84634. Silver Lot, Lot of 5 Flavian unattributed denarii (Vespasian, Titus or Domitian), F - VF, toned, ex CNG, unattributed, no tags or flips, no duplicates, the actual coins in the photographs; $370.00 (€329.30)
 


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This type celebrates the success of Vespasian and Titus in quelling the First Jewish Revolt. Coins commemorating this event are referred to as "Judaea Capta" issues.
RS77569. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 2; Hendin 1479; BMCRE II 35; RSC II 226; Hunter I 18; SRCV I 2296, F, well centered on a tight flan, light toning, nice portrait, weight 3.140 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 69 - 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse IVDAEA, Jewess seated right, mourning, veiled, supporting chin with left hand, trophy of captured arms behind her; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


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This type may commemorate a victory on the Sea of Galilee during the recapture of Judaea.
RB68879. Copper as, RIC II, part 1, 335; BMCRE II 617; Cohen I 632; Hunter I 119 var. (S - C, low across field); SRCV I -, F, well centered, nice green patina, small areas of corrosion on obv, weight 12.620 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III, radiate head right; reverse VICTORIA NAVALIS, Victory standing right on a prow, wreath in right, palm frond over should in left, S C in exergue; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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In the spring 73 A.D., the Roman governor Lucius Flavius Silva laid siege to Masada, the last outpost of the Jewish rebels. The Roman army (Legio X Fretensis) surrounded the mountain fortress with a 7-mile long siege wall and built a rampart of stones and beaten earth against the western approach. Under the leadership of Eleazar ben Ya'ir, 960 Zealots committed mass suicide when defeat became imminent.
RS70418. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 546; RSC II 387; BMCRE II 98; BnF III 86; SRCV I 2305, gF, excellent portrait, toned, weight 3.227 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 73 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG CENS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM, Vespasian seated right on seat without back, feet on footstool, long scepter vertical behind in right, olive branch in left; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars - redux means "coming back" or "returning." This coin was struck to ask Fortuna to ensure Vespasian returned safely to Roma from the war in Judaea. The portrait resembles Vitellius because the mint had not yet received a Vespasian portrait and the die engraver modified Vitellius' portrait based on a verbal description.
RS77279. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 19; RSC II 84; BMCRE II 7; BnF III 7; Cohen I 84 (2f.); SRCV I -, F, toned, damaged area on top of obverse and bottom of reverse, weight 2.622 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. Jan - Jun 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head (resembling Vitellius) right; reverse COS ITER FORT RED, Fortuna standing left, resting right hand on prow at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; scarce; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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In 75 A.D., the Temple of Peace was built in Rome to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem in 70 and house the Menorah and other sacred objects from Herod's Temple. A representation of the menorah is depicted in a frieze on the Arch of Titus. According to the Torah, the menorah was hammered from pure gold following the design God revealed to Moses. The menorah was looted by the Vandals in the sacking of Rome in 455, and taken to their capital, Carthage. According to Procopius, the Byzantine General Belisarius recovered it when he defeated the Vandals in 533 and it was carried through the streets of Constantinople during his triumph. Procopius adds that it was later sent back to Jerusalem, after which there is no further record of it. The menorah might have been destroyed when the Persians pillaged Jerusalem in 614.
RS84643. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 772; RSC II 366; BMCRE II 161; BnF III 139; Hunter I 51; SRCV I 2301, F, well centered, toned, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.231 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 75 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG (counterclockwise), laureate head right; reverse PON MAX TR P COS VI, Pax seated left, extending olive-branch in right hand, left hand at side; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


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In 75 A.D., the Temple of Peace was built in Rome to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem in 70 and house the Menorah and other sacred objects from Herod's Temple. A representation of the menorah is depicted in a frieze on the Arch of Titus. According to the Torah, the menorah was hammered from pure gold following the design God revealed to Moses. The menorah was looted by the Vandals in the sacking of Rome in 455, and taken to their capital, Carthage. According to Procopius, the Byzantine General Belisarius recovered it when he defeated the Vandals in 533 and it was carried through the streets of Constantinople during his triumph. Procopius adds that it was later sent back to Jerusalem, after which there is no further record of it. The menorah might have been destroyed when the Persians pillaged Jerusalem in 614.
RS84644. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 772; RSC II 366; BMCRE II 161; BnF III 139; Hunter I 51; SRCV I 2301, F, centered, toned, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.100 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 75 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG (counterclockwise), laureate head right; reverse PON MAX TR P COS VI, Pax seated left, extending olive-branch in right hand, left hand at side; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Apamea, Phrygia

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Apamea is believed to be the Biblical city Shepham (Num. xxxiv. 11). After the Mithridatic Wars it became a great center for trade, largely carried on by resident Italians and Jews. Apamea is mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 62a, Niddah, 30b and Yeb. 115b). By order of Flaccus, nearly 45 kilograms of gold, intended by Jews for the Temple in Jerusalem was confiscated in Apamea in 62 B.C. On the outbreak of the Jewish War, the inhabitants of Apamea spared the Jews who lived in their midst, and would not suffer them to be murdered or led into captivity (Josephus, Bell. Jud. ii. 18, § 5).

This type, the only issue by Apamea in the Flavian Period, may have been issued to finance recovery from an earthquake and fire mentioned by Suetonius (Vesp. 17).
Great Colonnade at Apamea
RP77369. Bronze AE 25, RPC II 1389; SNG Cop 210; SNGvA 3491; SNG München 152; BMC Phrygia p. 95, 150, Fair, nice portrait for grade, nice green patina, weight 9.728 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, Apamea of Syria mint, struck under Plancius Varus, Praetorian Legate; obverse AYTOKPATΩP KAIΣAP ΣEBAΣTOΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOΣ, laureate head right; reverse EΠI ΠΛANKIOY OYAPOY KOINON ΦPYΓIAΣ AΠAMEIΣ, bundle of five stalks of grain; $85.00 (€75.65)
 


Click for a larger photo
In 75 A.D., the Temple of Peace was built in Rome to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem in 70 and house the Menorah and other sacred objects from Herod's Temple. A representation of the menorah is depicted in a frieze on the Arch of Titus. According to the Torah, the menorah was hammered from pure gold following the design God revealed to Moses. The menorah was looted by the Vandals in the sacking of Rome in 455, and taken to their capital, Carthage. According to Procopius, the Byzantine General Belisarius recovered it when he defeated the Vandals in 533 and it was carried through the streets of Constantinople during his triumph. Procopius adds that it was later sent back to Jerusalem, after which there is no further record of it. The menorah might have been destroyed when the Persians pillaged Jerusalem in 614.
RS84645. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 772; RSC II 366; BMCRE II 161; BnF III 139; Hunter I 51; SRCV I 2301, F, well centered, dark toning, weight 3.398 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 75 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG (counterclockwise), laureate head right; reverse PON MAX TR P COS VI, Pax seated left, extending olive-branch in right hand, left hand at side; $85.00 (€75.65)
 


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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, and raising a fold of her dress with her left hand. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men.
RB73623. Copper as, RIC II, part 1, 894; BMCRE II 725, BnF III 757, Cohen I 457, Hunter I C3852, SRCV I -, F, centered, dark green patina, cleaning scratches, light corrosion and encrustations, weight 9.599 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 76 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESP AVG COS VII, laureate head right; reverse Spes standing left, flower in right, raising skirt with left, S - C flanking at sides; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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In 77 or 78 A.D., Gnaeus Julius Agricola was made governor of Roman Britain, a post he occupied until 84. In his first year, Agricola subdued the Ordovices in Wales and pursued the remnants of the tribe to Anglesey, the holy island of the Druids. According to Tacitus, he exterminated the whole tribe. The Ordovices do completely disappear from the historical record, but considering the mountainous terrain, it is unlikely killed the entire population. Another tribe, the Silures, was either also militarily defeated or simply agreed to terms. Tacitus wrote of the Silures: non atrocitate, non clementia mutabatur - the tribe "was changed neither by cruelty nor by clemency." A Roman squadron, sent by Agricola, explored the north of Scotland for the first time, discovering the Orkney and Shetland Islands.Pre-Roman Wales
RB66470. Copper quadrans, RIC II, part 1, 1015 (R); Cohen I 348; BMCRE II 740; SRCV I -, aF, weight 2.685 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, 77 - 78 A.D.; obverse IMP VESPASIAN AVG, rudder on globe; reverse P M TR P P P COS VIII, winged caduceus, S - C flanking across lower half of field; rare; $55.00 (€48.95)
 


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This type likely refers to the victory in Judaea but does not specifically identify that victory.
RS70225. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 362; RSC II 618; BMCRE II 74; BnF III 60; Hendin 771; SRCV I 2317, VF, attractive portrait, light toning, tight flan, weight 3.315 g, maximum diameter 17.82 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 72 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIA AVGVSTI, Victory advancing right, with right placing wreath on legionary standard standing before her, palm frond in left over shoulder; $45.02 (€40.07)


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This coin may have been struck to appeal to Pax to deliver peace at the time the First Jewish Revolt was coming to its end. On 14 April 70 A.D. Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He allowed pilgrims to enter to celebrate Passover but this was a trap to put pressure on supplies of food and water; he refused to allow them to leave. On 10 May he began his assault on the walls. The third wall fell on 25 May. The second wall fell on 30 May. On 20 July Titus stormed the Temple Mount. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
RS70288. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 29; RSC II 94h; BMCRE II 26; BnF III 17; Hunter I 14; SRCV I 2285, aVF/F, weight 3.394 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse COS ITER TR POT, Pax seated left on chair without back, olive branch in right hand, caduceus in left hand; $35.49 (€31.59)


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The augur was an official and priest, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society, public or private, including matters of war, commerce, and religion. The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices; that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"
RS70289. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 356; RSC II 45; BMCRE II 64; BnF III 49; Hunter I 27; SRCV I 2282, F, small flan as typical for the type, weight 3.120 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 72 - early 73 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII, laureate head right; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), ewer (jug) and lituus (augural wand), AVGVR above, TRI POT below; $32.00 (€28.48)


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The augur was an official and priest, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society, public or private, including matters of war, commerce, and religion. The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices; that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"
RS76290. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 43 (C2); RSC II 43; BMCRE II 50; BnF III 36; Hunter I 21; SRCV I -, aVF, uneven toning, high-points flatly struck, weight 3.305 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul - Dec 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG P M, laureate head right; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), ewer (jug) and lituus (augural wand), AVGVR above, TRI POT below; $16.00 (€14.24)







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CAESARVESPASIANVSAVG
DIVVSAVGVSTVSVESPASIANVS
DIVOAVGVESPSPQR
DIVOVESPASIANO
IMPCAESARAVGVESPASIANVS
IMPCAESARVESPASAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSII
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSIIITRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVGCOSIIITRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSVTRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASIAN
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVS
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSTRP
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVGCOSIII
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVGCOSIIII
IMPCAESARVESPAVG
IMPCAESARVESPAVGCOSVCENS
IMPCAESARVESPAVGVST
IMPCAESVESPASAVG
IMPCAESVESPASAVGPMTRPPPCSIII
IMPCAESVESPASAVGTRPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSIIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSVIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSVIIIPP
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGPMTRPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGPMTRPPPCOSVCENS
IMPCAESARVESPASCOSIIICENS
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVGPMTPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGCEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGCENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSIIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSVCENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSIIIICEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSVCEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTPCOSIIIICENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTRPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTRPIIIIPPCOSIIII
IMPVESPASAVGPMTRIPPPCOSIIII
IMPVESPASIANAVG
IMPVESPAVG
IMPVESPCAESAVGPONTMAXTRIBPOTCOSIIPP
IMPVESPCAESAVGPONTMAXTRIBPOTCOSIIIIPP
TCAESVESPASIANIMPPTRPCOSII


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A. & M. Amandry. Roman Provincial Coinage II: From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96). (London, 1999).
Butcher, Kevin. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC - AD 253. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 34. (London, 2004).
Calicó, E. Xavier. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Carradice, I.A. & T.V. Buttrey. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II, Part 1: From AD 69 to 96. (London, 2007).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon, De Claude Ier à Vespasien (41-78 après J.-C.), et au temps de Clodius Albinus (196-197 après J.-C.). (Wetteren, 2000).
Giard, Jean-Baptiste. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, III Du soulèvement de 68 après J.-C. a Nerva. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 2: Vespasian to Domitian. (London, 1930).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, January 19, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Vespasian