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Roman Empire, Vespasian, Sestertius with As
Obv. IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG P M TR POT P P COS III, laureate head right.
Rev. FORTVNAE REDVCI S C, Fortuna standing left, holding cornucopiae and rudder on globe.
Mint: Rome, 71 AD.

32/33mm 26.61g

Cohen- RIC IIĻ- (cf. 422) RIC II≤- (cf. 73) BMC- Sear- (cf. 2323

Ex MŁnzhandel Henzen, MA-Shops, 2019.

This is an extremely rare Sestertius of Vespasian which obverse was strucked with a die of an As.
A similar piece with the same As die but reverse type "LIBERTAS PVBLICA" is in the Mazzini collection, listed under no. 255.
This coin is uncommonly sharp for example looking at the SC.
It is an interesting coin, I will be pleased for additional informations.

Thank you to Curtis Clay for the excellent following write-up:

"Not a trial strike or a mint error in my opinion, but an intentional sestertius obv. die, though why the portrait and legend were cut in middle-bronze size is anyone's guess!

The mint of Rome may have begun its bronze coin production of 71 with two short issues, of which this was the second, before settling on its main first obv. legend of the year,


The latest obv. legend on bronzes of the preceding year, 70 AD:

IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M T P P P COS II DES III on sestertii (only 1 die), the same but CAES VESPASIAN and COS II D III on middle bronzes (also only 1 die, with bust laureate, draped, cuirassed r.). RIC 32-38. The middle bronzes of this issue might be dupondii or asses or both, since Vespasian had not yet restored the radiate crown as a denominational mark for his dupondii, as we will soon see. Kraay, a very competent practical numismatist, considered them asses; Carradice and Buttrey suggest dupondii, though without being able to assure us that at least one example is definitely in yellow orichalcum rather than red copper. Hopefully renewed examination of the few surviving specimens, or new specimens that are clearly either yellow or red, will eventually clarify the question.

My proposed first short issue of bronze coins in 71: with obv. legend omitting COS III, just

IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M TR P, RIC 50-65. Three such obv. dies are known on sestertii. The middle bronzes all have laureate busts, and at least one type definitely occurs both as a yellow dupondius and as a red As (RIC 64 with note), showing that by the beginning of 71 Vespasian had not yet reintroduced the radiate crown as a mark of his dupondii.

The second short issue of early in 71, to which KC's new acquisition belongs: obv. legend

IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG P M TR POT P P COS III on sestertii (only 1 die, with portrait and legend in middle-bronze size, RIC 137-140 and KC's new piece).

On middle bronzes two slight variants of the same legend were used,

(a) CAES not CAESAR on the one known dupondius, RIC 141, Kraay plaster cast in Oxford, with Head radiate r. on obv., so Vespasian had now reintroduced the radiate crown as a mark of his dupondii, proving that this short issue was later than the other one that omits COS III.

(b) CAES not CAESAR as on the dupondius, but also T P instead of TR POT, Head laureate r., apparently an As, RIC 31, a unique coin in Oxford, formerly in my collection, ex Lanz Graz IV, 1974, Hohenkubin middle bronzes, lot 134. The obv. legend might appear to end just COS II, and Buttrey accepted this reading in RIC, though I had informed him that I believed it was just a slightly tooled COS III.

Coming at last to the point, the sestertius obv. die with middle-bronze-size portrait and legend cannot originally have been cut as an As obv. die, because the one certain As of this issue has a variant, slightly shorter, obv. legend, and because in that case no sestertius obv. dies at all would have been engraved for use in this short issue. I also suspect that the broad ring of empty space outside the dotted border on this obv. die, shown clearly by RIC pl. 20, 137, suggests that it was always meant to be a sestertius not a middle-bronze die.

The Fortuna Redux rev. die of KC's new coin had earlier been used in the COS II DES III issue of late 70 AD, RIC pl. 15, 33, giving some support to my suggestion that this second small issue of bronzes in 71 was probably produced quite early in the year. The same rev. die, as Kraay observed, was also used a little later with an obv. die of the main VESPASIANVS issue of 71, Paris pl. XLIV, 486. But it is not certain, of course, that these two small issues of bronze coins were produced one after the other early in 71, before the main VESPASIANVS issue had started, as I have here suggested. Perhaps they were instead produced early in 71 indeed, but as isolated experiments alongside the main VESPASIANVS issue."

Thanks to Alberto "FlaviusDomitianus"

"Your coin is apparently unpublished and belongs to a small issue of Sestertii described in RIC 2.1 page 69:

"(d) Variant group of sestertii with small (as) die ending VESPASIAN AVG P M TR POT COS III - Pl. 20".

As noted by Carradice and Buttrey the obverse die has not be found on any As.

They are numbered from 137 to 141; since your reverse would be the first one in alphabetical order, it would probably get number 136A.

This small series is also discussed in the introduction (page 23)."

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Album name:kc / The Best of Type!
Rating (3 votes): (Details)
File Size:145 KB
Date added:Jun 15, 2019
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Jay GT4  [Jun 15, 2019 at 05:08 PM]
okidoki  [Jun 16, 2019 at 04:20 PM]
quadrans  [Jun 22, 2019 at 11:25 AM]
Great piece ..I like it..
*Alex  [Jun 22, 2019 at 11:45 AM]
Interesting coin.
orfew  [Jun 22, 2019 at 05:31 PM]
Wonderful piece