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Vespasian RIC-853
AR Denarius, 3.41g
Rome mint, 76 AD
RIC 853 (R2). BMC p. 34 note. RSC 374.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, bare, l.
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS VII; Pax, bare to the waist, seated l., holding branch extended in r. hand, l. hand on lap
Ex Private Collection.

An extremely rare denarius from 76. Left facing, bare head, and COS VII combine to make this an exceptional coin. This is the 7th known specimen: Berlin, Paris, Gemini 2013, Curtis Clay 2010, Private collection, and ebay 2003 (RIC plate coin) are the other examples. All have the same obverse die, Clay 2010 and my coin are die pair matches. These bare portraits were struck with the Pax reverse in both 75 (unique) and in 76. Why the engraver chose an unlaureate bust is a mystery. Perhaps struck in error, which would explain why so few were minted.

I haven't seen a photo of the other unique bare head Pax type from 75 (RIC 773, Vecchi 13, lot 757), but Curtis Clay has confirmed it is a different obverse die and may possibly read COS VII! If true, the bare l. portrait was only struck with the COS VII Pax. Only having the coin in hand will solve the mystery for certain. *

A compact and neat portrait emphasising Vespasian's militaristic look.

* See my RIC 773 for confirmation of the bare head portrait in 75, added December 2017.
File information
Album name:David Atherton / Imperial Coinage of Vespasian
Rating (3 votes): (Details)
File Size:153 KB
Date added:May 18, 2015
Dimensions:800 x 375 pixels
Displayed:189 times
Favorites:Add to Favorites
curtislclay  [May 18, 2015 at 08:36 PM]
I was happy to acquire a specimen myself in 2010: from the same dies as yours, about the same quality.
David Atherton  [May 18, 2015 at 09:07 PM]
Thanks Curtis for the additonal info. I will ammend my description to 6 specimens! Glad you got one too!
Nemonater  [May 18, 2015 at 09:09 PM]
Absolutely wonderful!
Jay GT4  [May 18, 2015 at 09:14 PM]
quadrans  [May 19, 2015 at 03:46 AM]
ancientdave  [May 19, 2015 at 04:56 AM]
Very nice coin & great write-up!
FlaviusDomitianus  [May 19, 2015 at 05:38 AM]
Great addition.
labienus  [May 22, 2015 at 07:53 AM]
Glad it found its home. Best. Pierre