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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > David Atherton > Imperial Coinage of Vespasian

Vespasian RIC 04
AR Denarius, 2.71g
Rome Mint, 69-70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IVDAEA in ex.; Jewess (as type of Judaea), draped and veiled, seated r. on ground, head inclined downwards, l. knee drawn up, hand bound behind back and fastened to palm-tree
RIC 4 (R). BMC 43. RSC 229. BNC -.
Acquired from Zuzim Judaea, May 2012.

The reverse commemorates the end of the Jewish War and is part of the 'Judaea Capta' series that Vespasian issued soon after he became emperor. The coin depicts a Jewess, seated before a palm tree (representing the land of Judaea), with her hands tied behind her back and in mourning. Clearly no academic interpretation is needed to understand what is meant by this reverse design.
This particular reverse is a much scarcer type than the standard Jewess seated before trophy. Possibly it was considered too harsh and was discontinued, explaining its rarity. Was this type minted first and then the milder form of the design appeared?

This coin is a replacement upgrade for one I purchased six years ago. Is it better? I'm not so sure. The flan is oblong (but large at 21.5 mm), the obverse slightly double struck, and the details are not as sharp on the reverse. With all that being said, I like the toning, the beaded border is almost in full on the reverse (a rarity for an early Vespasian denarius), and the style is quite attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.
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Jay GT4  [May 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM]
Nice one David. I like the detail in the palm and the full boarder is a bonus.
Lucas H  [May 24, 2012 at 03:54 PM]
Oh, but this one is much better. The legends are complete, and I can see why you upgraded, and I am very happy you did