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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.


Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, Flavia Domitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown. Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.

Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Flavia Domitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


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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 unlikelythe entire population was killed . 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
RS86687. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 983, RSC II 214, BMCRE II 214, BnF III 189, Hunter I 71, SRCV I 2292 var. (head right), Choice EF, well centered and struck, excellent portrait, mint luster, radiating flow lines, clashed reverse die, small edge cracks, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul 77 - Dec 78 A.D.; obverse CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head left; reverse sow and three piglets at feet (one before, one below and one behind) walking left, all on ground line, IMP XIX in exergue; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; ex Helios, auction 4 (14 Oct 2009), lot 298; ex A. Lynn Collection; $900.00 (€765.00)
 


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

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RPC II notes this extremely rare type was previously attributed to Apamea in Bithynia. The issue, however, included two reverse types, this Victory type and one with Apollo Smintheus, and the cult of Apollo Smintheus was centered on the Troad. Also, an example of the Apollo type was found at Alexandria. Both types are extremely rare. These were the first coins issued by Alexandria Troas, which otherwise did not strike coins before Antoninus Pius.
RP86548. Copper semis, RPC II 896/1 (2 spec., same obv. die); Milne NC 1953, p. 23, 6 (Apamea); Rec Gén p. 252, note 4 (same); Bellinger -; BMC Troas -; SNG Cop -, aF, tight flan, light corrosion, light deposits, reverse a little off center, weight 4.930 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, obverse IMP VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory standing right, wearing long chiton, filleted wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, D - D flanking low across field; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins, ex Sayles & Lavender (2009); extremely rare; $340.00 (€289.00)
 


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

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RPC II p. 161 observes, "The only problem that remains is the identity of the single left-facing head (967). At the moment the obverse inscription cannot be read in full; the portrait looks youngish and rather more like that of Titus than that of Vespasian or Domitian. The discovery of further specimens may resolve this question." Since publication, other examples, including this one, have confirmed the legend identifies the head as Vespasian.
RP85866. Bronze AE 19, RPC II 967, SNG München 376, SNG Cop 24 var. (head right), aVF, partial green patina on brown tone, legends more legible than most examples of the type, weight 5.464 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Aiolis, Aigai (near Yuntdagi Koseler, Turkey) mint, 1 Jul 69 - 24 Jun 79 A.D.; obverse OYHECΠACIANOC KAICAP (Vespasian, caesar), laureate head left; reverse EΠI AΠOΛΛΩNIOY NEMEONIKOY (magistrate Apollonios, son of Nemeonikos), Apollo standing right, taenia in right hand, laurel branch in left hand, AΓAEΩN downward behind; rare; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


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

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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RX86439. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 276; Milne 393; BMC Alexandria p. 29, 236; Curtis 262; Emmett 205, RPC I 2412; Dattari 360 corr. (obv. leg.), VF, well centered, porous, edge cracks, weight 13.323 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 69 - 28 Aug 70 A.D.; obverse AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY, laureate head right, LB (year 2) before; reverse Victory flying left, filleted wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand; from the Lucas Harsh Collection, ex Vaughn Rare Coin Gallery; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


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

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Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.
RP85311. Silver drachm, RPC II 1636 (6 spec.); Sydenham Cappadocia 96; Metcalf Conspectus p. 94, 7; BMC Galatia -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aF, marks and scratches, weight 2.536 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, c. 73 - 74 A.D.; obverse AYOKPA KAICAP OVECΠACIANOC CEBACTOC, laureate head right; reverse ETOYC EKTOY (year 6), Mount Argaeus surmounted by a statue of figure standing facing, radiate, globe in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; very rare; $65.00 (€55.25)
 


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

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Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.
RP12057. Silver hemidrachm, RPC II 1659; Metcalf 17; Sydenham Cappadocia 94; BMC Galatia p. 47, 17; SNGvA 6362, F, encrusted, marks and scratches, small edge splits, weight 1.798 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, c. 69 - 79 A.D.; obverse AYOKP KAICAP OVECΠACIANOC CEBA, laureate head right; reverse Nike advancing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm over left shoulder in left hand; $55.00 (€46.75)
 


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

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This type, the only issue by Apamea in Phrygia during the Flavian Period, may have been issued to finance recovery from an earthquake and fire mentioned by Suetonius (Vesp. 17).

Apamea or Apameia, Phrygia (also called Apamea Cibotus, Apamea ad Maeandrum, or Apamea on the Maeander) was an ancient city in Anatolia founded in the 3rd century B.C. by Antiochus I Soter, who named it after his mother Apama. It was in Hellenistic Phrygia, but became part of the Roman province of Pisidia.
RP77369. Bronze AE 26, 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, Phrygia, Apameia (Dinar, Turkey) mint, struck under Plancius Varus, Praetorian Legate; obverse AYTOKPATΩP KAIΣAP ΣEBAΣTOΣ OUEΣΠAΣIANOΣ, laureate head right; reverse EΠI ΠΛANKIOY OYAPOY KOINON ΦPUΓIAΣ AΠAMEIΣ, bundle of five stalks of grain; $50.00 (€42.50)
 


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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-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 hand, raising skirt with left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at sides; $45.00 (€38.25)
 


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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-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 (senatus consulto) flanking across lower half of field; rare; $40.00 (€34.00)
 







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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 Tuesday, December 11, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Vespasian