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Vespasian RIC-759
Æ Dupondius, 14.46g
Rome mint, 74 AD
RIC 759 (C). BMC p. 219 note. RPC 1983 (6 spec.).
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: PON•MAX•TR•POT•P•P•COS•V CENS; Winged caduceus between crossed cornuacopiae
Ex eBay, 16 October 2018. Ex Klassische Münzen.

Traditionally, the issue this rather strange dupondius is from has been attributed to various different mints over the years. Ted Buttrey writing in the RIC II.1 Addenda commented extensively on it. Because both the Addenda has yet to see the light of day and T. Buttrey's thoughts on the subject are important (and indeed likely correct), I have largely quoted it in full here with some minor editing.

'RIC 756-767 are irregular Dupondii, which should be taken together with Asses, semisses and quadrantes (RIC 1564-1581), forming together a single extraordinary issue in four denominations, distinct in typology and metal, as well as overall character from the regular coinage of the year. Although Eastern in aspect and reverse type, the circulation area of the dupondii is almost exclusively Gaul, Germany, Italy – i.e. the West, with scarcely any penetration of the East. Finds of the smaller denominations are rarely attested anywhere, East or West. The Eastern finds appear to be simply the débris of Mediterranean circulation.

Previously the series had been attributed to Commagene (BMCRE II, pp.217-222), then as a likelihood to Antioch (e.g. RPC II 1982-2005). The correct attribution to Rome is proved by mules of the dupondii with regular issues (Buttrey, “Vespasian’s Roman Orichalcum: An Unrecognized Celebratory Coinage” in David M. Jacobson and Nikos Kokkinos, Judaea and Rome in Coins, 65 CBE – 135 CE (2012). The series had nothing to do with Syria or with the East at all, yet it was purposefully designed to appear non-Roman: the suppression of the traditional reverse sub-inscription S C throughout; the suppression of the radiate crown of the Dupondius; the shifting of the consular dating from the obv. to the rev.; the striking of all four denominations in orichalcum; and most obviously the selection of rev. dies which reek of the East.

There is nothing like this series in the whole of Roman imperial coinage. It is a deliberate act of Orientalism, imposing the flavour of the East on a Western coinage. The key to its understanding is the reverse type of the dupondius, two crossed cornuacopiae with a winged caduceus between. It replicates the type of an obscure issue of the Galilean city of Sepphoris, an issue which had been, astonishingly, signed by Vespasian himself (ΕΠΙ ΟΥΕCΠΑCΙΑΝΟΥ, “on the authority of…”) when on duty there in the last days of Nero. The dupondius-sized bronze was accompanied by a half-unit with the type of a large, central S C – again signed by Vespasian, and now imitated on the As of the orichalcum series with the wreath of the As of Antioch (RPC I 4849-50).
The whole of this series memorializes not Vespasian the conquering general (IVDAEA CAPTA, VICTORIA AVGVSTI), but the man. His re-use of earlier coin types is well-known; here he re-uses his own, harking back to his career just prior to his final success in seizing the empire. And the series was struck in 74 A.D., co-terminous with the celebration of Vespasian’s first quinquennium.'

The coin itself is a superb example in very fine style. Beautiful dark golden patina with highlights of emerald green.
File information
Album name:David Atherton / Imperial Coinage of Vespasian
Rating (1 votes): (Details)
File Size:180 KB
Date added:Oct 23, 2018
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quadrans  [Oct 23, 2018 at 11:20 AM]
Great coin , and details,
Jay GT4  [Oct 23, 2018 at 11:25 AM]
Great coin and an interesting write up. I'll have to change the attribution on mine!
Mat  [Oct 23, 2018 at 02:15 PM]
Lovely bronze
Nemonater  [Oct 24, 2018 at 01:56 AM]
Randygeki(h2)  [Oct 24, 2018 at 05:33 AM]
Congrats. Neat addition!
Pharsalos  [Oct 24, 2018 at 11:04 AM]
Great coin, beautiful and very honest surfaces.
ancientdave  [Oct 27, 2018 at 10:00 AM]
Nice one!
okidoki  [Oct 27, 2018 at 12:45 PM]
excellent and stylistic