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Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.
This is the rarest Otho denarius type and one of the rarest 1st century Roman denarii. Only two museums, Paris and ANS, hold examples. A further specimen was found in archeological context in Denmark in 1990s. Besides these, four additional specimens are known. This coin has the best portrait and is clearly the most attractive of the seven known. Jyrki Muona obtained it in 2002 at the NYINC from Glenn Woods.
Otho minted three separate issues. The first and second issues followed Galba's standard of 90% silver. Otho's third issue was debased to 80% silver. All coins of the third issue share the reverse legend PONT MAX, perhaps to make it easy to distinguish the debased coins. One might think our rare coin is a reverse legend error for Otho's third issue, PONT MAX Ceres type. However, as Butcher et al. have shown, this is not the case. If CERES AVG was a simple reverse legend error, the flan would be 80% silver. This CERES AVG type was struck in a second issue of 90% silver flans, probably during planning for the third issue, and perhaps only for testing. The type was apparently not distributed, and was withdrawn, and melted when it was decided to debase the coinage and use the PONT MAX legend. It appears a small number were released, most likely by mistake.
RS85563. Silver denarius
, Muona Otho
1958.217.1; BnF III
1; RIC I
1 (R3, 7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens
, light rose toning
, a few light marks and spots of porosity
3.272g, maximum diameter
17.5mm, die axis
, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse
IMP OTHO CAESAR
AVG TRP, bare head
right; reverse CERES AVG
standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia
in left hand; rarest Otho denarius type
; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Glenn Woods
(NYINC, 2002); $5000.00
Catalog current as of Saturday, January 20, 2018.
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