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Imperial Coinage of Vespasian


V1424_R3.jpg

Titus Flavius Vespasianus - Augustus 69-79 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1.

References cited:
RIC - The Roman Imperial Coinage II Part 1 - Carradice and Buttrey
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II - Mattingly
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II - Seaby
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II - Burnett, Amandry, Carradice

RIC frequency ratings:
R3 unique
R2 very few examples known
R rare
C common
C2 very common
C3 extremely common

196 files, last one added on Jul 16, 2019

Imperial Coinage of Titus


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Titus Flavius Vespasianus - Caesar 69-79 AD, Augustus 79-81 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1.

References cited:
RIC - The Roman Imperial Coinage II Part 1 - Carradice and Buttrey
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II - Mattingly
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II - Seaby
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II - Burnett, Amandry, Carradice

RIC frequency ratings:
R3 unique
R2 very few examples known
R rare
C common
C2 very common
C3 extremely common

139 files, last one added on Jul 13, 2019

Imperial Coinage of Domitian


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Titus Flavius Domitianus - Caesar 69-81 AD, Augustus 81–96 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1.

References cited:
RIC - The Roman Imperial Coinage II Part 1 - Carradice and Buttrey
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II - Mattingly
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II - Seaby
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II - Burnett, Amandry, Carradice

RIC frequency ratings:
R3 unique
R2 very few examples known
R rare
C common
C2 very common
C3 extremely common

Common Minerva Types:
M1 Minerva advancing right, brandishing spear
M2 Minerva advancing right, brandishing spear, on capital of rostral column, accompanied by owl
M3 Minerva standing, facing left, with thunderbolt and spear and shield behind her feet
M4 Minerva standing left with spear

218 files, last one added on Jul 07, 2019

Imperial Coinage of Julia Titi


T387a.jpg

Flavia Julia Titi - Augusta 80-91 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1.

References cited:
RIC - The Roman Imperial Coinage II Part 1 - Carradice and Buttrey
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II - Mattingly
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II - Seaby
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II - Burnett, Amandry, Carradice

RIC frequency ratings:
R3 unique
R2 very few examples known
R rare
C common
C2 very common
C3 extremely common

3 files, last one added on Aug 24, 2017

Imperial Coinage of Domitia


D847.jpg

Domitia Longina - Augusta 81-96 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1.

References cited:
RIC - The Roman Imperial Coinage II Part 1 - Carradice and Buttrey
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II - Mattingly
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II - Seaby
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II - Burnett, Amandry, Carradice

RIC frequency ratings:
R3 unique
R2 very few examples known
R rare
C common
C2 very common
C3 extremely common

1 files, last one added on Jul 25, 2018

Provincial Coinage of the Flavian Dynasty


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Flavian Dynasty 69-96 AD

Provincial coins are arranged according to RPC II

Reference cited: RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II - Burnett, Amandry, Carradice

RPC frequency is determined by the number of specimens in the 'core collections'

Core collections:
Berlin, Staatliche Museen
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum
Copenhagen, Nationalmuseet
Glasgow, Hunterian Museum
London, British Museum
Munich, Staatliche Münzsammlung
New York, American Numismatic Society
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

68 files, last one added on Nov 06, 2018

6 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - David Atherton's Gallery
V1137.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-113732 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.51g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1137 (R). BMC p. 198 note ‡.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: S P Q R / •P•P• / OB CIVES / SERVATOS within oak wreath
Ex Leu Web Auction 8, 29-30 June 2019, lot 1008.

During the great bronze issue of 71 a sestertius reverse type was struck at both Rome and Lyon (Lugdunum) which commemorates the Senate awarding the corona civica to Vespasian. The corona civica was originally a military honour bestowed upon a Roman who had saved a fellow citizen's life in battle. It was one of the greatest public honours. In the imperial era the honour developed from a coveted military decoration into an imperial emblem granted by the Senate to the emperor. The wreath was made of oak leaves and is sometimes called a corona quercea after the common name for the oak. Artistically it is sometimes depicted with acorns scattered amongst the leaves. Plutarch believed the oak was chosen for this highest of honours for several reasons. The tree was easily found throughout the countryside and was quite convenient for fashioning a wreath when the need arose. Also, the oak is sacred to Jupiter and Juno and thus was an appropriate symbolic honour given to one who has saved the life of a fellow Roman citizen, or indeed the state. Finally, the early settlers of Rome, the Arcadians, were nicknamed 'acorn-eaters' in an oracle of Apollo.

The Wreath was awarded to Vespasian by the Senate for rescuing the Roman people from civil war and bringing about peace. The legend within the wreath S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS translates as: 'The Senate and the Roman People / Father of the Nation / For Having Saved the Citizens'. This rare Lugdunese specimen commemorating the award was struck during the first bronze issue at that mint.

Cleaned surfaces with brass toning.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJul 16, 2019
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Titus RIC-49826 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.38g
Eastern Mint (Thrace?), 80-81 AD
RIC 498 (C). BMC 309. RPC 501.
Obv: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., with branch and cornucopiae
Acquired from Munthandel G. Henzen, June 2019.

A mystery mint struck coins for Titus sometime between 80-81. The style (heavily seriffed letters, large portraits, and massive reverse figures), unique obverse legends (DIVI VESP F for Titus), and uncommon fabric (flat, almost convex flans) all suggest a mint other than Rome. Attributing exactly where these coins were struck has historically been a moving target - Mattingly in BMCRE thought Lugdunum, H.A. Cahn believed somewhere in Bithynia. More recent scholarship has looked towards Thrace as a possible location for production based on the Balkan distribution pattern of found specimens. Although the region of mintage has been narrowed down, the city itself remains elusive. RPC has suggested possibly Perinthus. Presumably a shortage of bronze coins in the region during Titus' reign prompted a localised imperial issue. The striking of imperial bronze outside of Rome was an exceptional step at the time considering the last imperial branch mint at Lugdunum had shuttered late in Vespasian's reign. The issue consisted of sestertii, dupondii, asses, and semisses which copied types struck at Rome. This sestertius with its massive portrait and large reverse figure is quite typical for this elusive mint. The reverse copies a common Pax type struck contemporaneously at Rome.

Good style with dark brown patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJul 13, 2019
T220.jpg
Titus RIC-22049 viewsÆ As, 9.10g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 220 (R). BMC p. 266 note.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: AETERNIT AVGVST; S C in field; Aeternitas stg. r., l. foot on globe, with sceptre and cornucopiae
Acquired from eBay, June 2019.

Aeternitas, the personification of eternity, as a coin type was first introduced during the reign of Vespasian and would be periodically struck until the 4th century. This As featuring Aeternitas was struck during Titus' second and largest bronze issue in 80-81. Mattingly in BMCRE II speculates the type here refers to the consecration of Vespasian - 'Aeternitas holds sceptre and cornucopiae, the attributes of majesty and prosperity, while the globe under her foot shows that the application is world-wide. Stress is laid more on the great future than on the great past of the Flavian line.' A most fitting interpretation for a coin that declares 'The eternity of the Augustus'.

Honest wear with greenish-brown patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJul 08, 2019
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Domitian RIC-11039 viewsÆ As, 10.56g
Rome mint, 82 AD
RIC 110 (C3). BMC 281.
Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VIII DES VIIII P P; S C in field; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield
Acquired from Holding History, eBay, June 2019.

Early in Domitian's reign Minerva figured prominently on the aes coinage. This As from early 82 featuring his patron deity with spear and shield would later be adopted by the denarius issues after the overhaul of the mint later in the year. It would become one of the standard four Minerva types for that denomination.

Fetching olive green patina.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 07, 2019
V1235.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-123529 viewsÆ As, 9.42g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1235 (C). BMC 846 var.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Garlanded Altar
Acquired from Kölner, June 2019.

Late in Vespasian's reign the mint at Lyon (ancient Lugdunum) struck a fairly large issue of bronze at a time when the mint at Rome was winding down its own bronze production. Presumably this late issue was produced to address a shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces. Many of the types were recycled from earlier issues from both Rome and Lyon. The common PROVIDENT altar type was sometimes struck at Lyon with a decorative garland, as seen on this example. Although this variant is not rare, surprisingly it is missing from the BM collection. Although the type is commonly described as an altar, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. Originally, Tiberius struck the Provident altar type for Divus Augustus. It was later revived during the recent Civil War and was struck by both Galba and Vitellius.

Provenanced to an old 'South German collection from the 1920s to the 1950s'. Nice old cabinet tone.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJul 01, 2019
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Titus RIC 16A53 viewsAR Denarius, 2.83g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 16A (R3). BMC - . RSC - .
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: ANNONA AVG; Annona std. l., with sack of corn ears
Ex Roma Numismatics, E-Sale 58, 20 June 2019, lot 1078.

A unique First issue Annona paired with a Second issue obverse legend. The Annona reverse was a carry-over type struck for Titus as Caesar under Vespasian just before his death and was likely issued in the first few days of Titus' reign as a stop-gap until new reverse designs could be created. It is by far the rarest type from the First issue. The obverse legend changed in the second issue from the First issue's IMP T CAESAR to IMP TITVS CAES, this would be the standard obverse legend on the denarii for the remainder of the reign. The appearance of the Annona type with the new obverse legend is possibly a mule using an old First issue reverse die with a new Second issue obverse. There is a slight possibility that it was an intentional strike, but the fact that no other Second issue Annona specimens have surfaced is a strong indication it is accidental.

I informed Ian Carradice of the piece and he has assigned it RIC 16A in the upcoming RIC II.1 Addenda with the note: 'Perhaps a mule, with rev die from the previous issue'.

Good Roman style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 29, 2019
D281.jpg
Domitian RIC-28160 viewsÆ Sestertius, 26.14g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 281 (R). BMC 301.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM COS XI; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: S C in exergue; Domitian stg. r., clasping hands over altar with officer stg. l.; behind officer, one soldier with standard and one soldier at r. with spear and shield
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, June 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 182. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), acquired from the Heynen Collection; inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

In 85 Domitian struck a fairly impressive issue of sestertii, M. Grant hyperbolically called it the most 'ambitious' of any one reign or year. The series is the first major aes issue of Domitian's reign and is dominated by panoramic types commemorating his greatest military victory over the Germanic tribe the Chatti. The Germanic triumph received a certain amount of ridicule from ancient writers who thought the whole thing was a sham (Dio goes so far as to say Domitian raided the palace's furniture stores for his fake spoils!), no doubt the numismatic propaganda for the victory was likely viewed in the same manner by contemporary senatorial elites. This rare sestertius depicts a rather ambiguous scene showing Domitian, the much larger figure on the left, clasping hands with a legate over an altar while two legionaries stand by. What exactly is going on here is a mystery. Mattingly in BMCRE II believed it to be 'the taking of the sacramentum, the military oath'. Others have postulated the scene shows Domitian greeting Agricola upon his return from Britannia. The Agricola connection is highly unlikely. The type is struck for several more years, so it cannot be referring to one single 'event'. It's an intriguing scene in the context of the Germania Capta series, perhaps depicting a post victory ceremony. Whatever the meaning, the reverse strongly underscores Domitian's bond with the military.

This wonderful old cabinet toned piece is from the collection of the German portrait painter Fritz Reusing.

3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 27, 2019
T294.jpg
Domitian as Caesar RIC-29453 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.01g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
RIC 294 (C). BMC 231.
Obv: CAES DIVI AVG VESP F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in field; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, May 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 177. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

An exquisite sestertius struck for Domitian as Caesar under Titus featuring his patron deity Minerva. DIVI AVG VESP F tells us the coin was struck after Vespasian's deification. The date of Vespasian's consecratio is dated by the epigraphic evidence sometime between September 8, 79 - May 29, 80, so this sestertius could not have been struck much earlier than June 80. The Minerva reverse was one of the more common types struck during this second bronze issue for Domitian Caesar under Titus.

Although fine portraits can occasionally be seen in silver, it is on the larger canvas of the bronze where the full flower of Roman imperial portraiture can be seen. This sestertius has one of the finest portraits of Domitian I've come across. A superb example of the imperial engraver's art.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 23, 2019
V1132.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-113268 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.45g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1132 (R). BMC 799.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: CAESAR AVG F DES IMP AVG F COS DES II; S C in exergue; Titus and Domitian stg. front, each with spear and parazonium
Acquired from Romae Aeternae, June 2019.

An iconic dynastic sestertius struck during Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71. The type was struck both at Rome and Lyon (ancient Lugdunum) and announced Vespasian's intention to found a dynasty. Mattingly in BMCRE II calls it a 'famous' type placing the figures on the reverse as Titus on the left and Domitian on the right. While that is a conventional numismatic placement for the two Caesares, here we see the figure on the left holding a parazonium an attribute of an imperator, which of the two could only be Titus. Conversely, the figure on the left is holding something smaller (a roll?) that does not appear to be a parazonium, despite the above RIC description. The reverse legend corresponds for this placement of the figures with the first half of the legend CAES AVG F DES for Domitian on the left, the second half IMP AVG F COS DES II for Titus on the right. The legend has caused confusion over the years with some numismatists creating the phantom title Designatus Imperator for Titus. The title COS is implied for Domitian after DES in the legend, a kind of numismatic shorthand if you will. Gunnar Seelentag attempted to clear up the matter up in Numismatic Chronicle, Vol 167 (2007), but doubts remain. Curtis Clay has proposed that the traditional view of Titus on the left and Domitian on the right is correct, pointing out that both are holding a parazonium, theorising Titus' is hidden behind his body with only the handle showing. His arguments in full can be read here: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=44488.0 The reverse type itself is fairly rare with only a handful of specimens coming to market each decade, this Lugdunese specimen is much scarcer than those from Rome. Flavian dynastic types are far more common in silver.

Fantastic style with old cabinet toning. Same reverse die as Gemini IX, lot 414.

NB: Special thanks to Curtis Clay for additional numismatic information.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJun 19, 2019
V627.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC-62761 viewsÆ As, 10.28g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 627 (R). BMC p. 153 note.
Obv: T CAES IMP PON TR P COS II CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., leaning on column, with caduceus and branch
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, May 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 164. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), acquired from O. Helbing of Munich, 1929; inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

Pax in various guises and types was struck repeatedly throughout Vespasian's reign for both himself and Titus Caesar. This variant with Pax leaning on a column was a perennial favourite. Pax's popularity on the coinage can perhaps be explained by Vespasian's construction of the Temple of Peace which was completed in 75.

Nice old cabinet toning.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJun 16, 2019
V1153.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-115354 viewsÆ Dupondius, 12.79g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1153 (C). BMC 806.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: S C in field; Victory flying l., with shield inscribed SPQR
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, May 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 157. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

A somewhat common Victory type unique to Lyon for Vespasian struck during his massive bronze issue of 71. It copies an earlier Lyon type produced for Nero. The coin is characterised by the mint's distinctive style in both the portraiture and the majestic, sweeping Victory on the reverse.

This is another coin from the Fritz Reusing Collection. Being a portrait painter, I would like to think Herr Reusing was was attracted to the coin's fantastic portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJun 08, 2019
V315a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-31564 viewsÆ As, 9.84g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 315 (R). BMC - .
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PROVIDEN in exergue; S C in field; Altar
Acquired from Dr. Claus W. Hild, May 2019.

Originally, Tiberius struck the Provident altar type for Divus Augustus. The altar depicted is dedicated to Providentia, the personification of the emperor's divine providence. Although the type is commonly described as an altar, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. This popular type was later revived during the Civil War by Galba and Vitellius. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon, confining the type to the as issues. This example is the rare Rome mint variant with the unique abbreviated 'PROVIDEN' legend struck during the great bronze issue of 71. It is missing from the BM's extensive collection. The variant spellings can range the gamut from 'PROVID' to 'PROVIDENT'.

Well centred with a nice dark coppery patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 02, 2019
D751.jpg
Domitian RIC-75146 viewsÆ Sestertius, 23.75g
Rome mint, 92-94 AD
RIC 751 (C2). BMC 464.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XVI CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IOVI VICTORI; S C in exergue; Jupiter std. l., with Victory and sceptre
Acquired from eBay, May 2019. Ex Degani Coin Shop.

Just like the silver and gold, Domitian's aes coinage in the mid 80s settled down to a few predicable reverse types that were annually struck throughout the reign. The Sestertii were dominated by Victory crowning the emperor and the seated Jupiter with Victory, as seen on this coin. 'Jupiter the giver of Victory' was an important propaganda type because of the periodic conflicts on the Northern frontier that flared up form time to time. Domitian did not renew the consulship until 95, so these COS XVI sestertii are imprecisely dated between 92-94, which accounts for their extreme commonness.

A well worn example with a good portrait and fine olive green patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMay 26, 2019
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Vespasian-RIC-120050 viewsÆ As, 11.19g
Lyon mint, 72 AD
RIC 1200 (C). BMC 820.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS IIII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Altar
Ex Museum Surplus, May 2019.

Originally, Tiberius struck the Provident altar type for Divus Augustus. The altar depicted is dedicated to Providentia, the personification of the emperor's divine providence. Although the type is commonly described as an altar, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. This popular type was later revived during the Civil War by Galba and Vitellius. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon. This common example is from the latter mint, struck in 72.

Solid example with a rich dark brown patina.
2 commentsDavid AthertonMay 24, 2019
T215b.jpg
Titus RIC-21566 viewsÆ As, 9.73g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 215 (C). BMC 204.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: AEQVITAS AVGVST; S C in field; Aequitas stg. l., with scales and rod
Ex eBay, 10 May 2019.

Titus produced a sizeable bronze issue in 80-81. He did not renew the consulship in 81, so it is difficult to pin down a precise date. Owing to the issue's large size it is likely many of the coins did indeed spill over into 81. Here we see a common Aequitas type from that large issue which was originally struck under Vespasian, who in turn copied it from Galba. Aequitas likely represents fairness in issuing out the corn dole.

Honest wear with a dark olive green patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMay 20, 2019
V351.jpg
Vespasian RIC-35153 viewsÆ Quadrans, 2.54g
Rome Mint, 71 AD
RIC 351 (R). BMC 618.
Obv: IMP VESPASIAN AVG; Palm tree
Rev: P M TR PPP COS III; S C in field; Vexillum
Acquired from numis-kimel, eBay, May 2019.

During Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71 the Rome mint produced a series of quadrantes. Their rarity today is likely a result of them being of low value and typically not hoarded. Mimicking the larger bronze, the Jewish War victory was celebrated on them as well. Because of the small flan size brevity is called for: a palm representing Judaea on the obverse, and a Vexillum symbolising military victory on the reverse - straight and to the point! Ironically, despite their rarity today, more of the plebeian population would have seen these quadrantes than their more famous 'Judaea Capta' silver cousins.

Struck with full legends and sporting a fetching 'Tiber' patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMay 18, 2019

Random files - David Atherton's Gallery
RPC1978.jpg
RPC-1978-Domitian123 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.44g
Antioch mint, 88-89 AD
RPC 1978 (7 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAIΣAP ΔOMITIANOΣ ΣEB ΓEPM; Bust of Domitian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY H; Eagle with wings spread on thunderbolt to r.; in r. field, palm branch
Acquired from Münzhandlung Ritter, April 2015.

This tetradrachm of Domitian from Antioch was struck in "New Holy Year 8" of his reign and represents an excellent example in fine Antioch style. Earlier Domitian tetradrachms were either struck or engraved in Alexandria in a slightly cruder fashion. These year 8 tetradrachms are artistically much more pleasing. RPC speculates the whole Domitianic series is "Alexandrian". It's of interest to note that the Alexandrian coinage underwent a vast stylistic improvement around year 10 or 11, perhaps corresponding with the better style seen in the Antiochene tets from year 8 onward. The use of "Σ" instead of "C" is an Alexandrian trait as well.

A lovely regal portrait with beautiful chocolate toning.
7 commentsDavid Atherton
D816_(5)sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-81669 viewsAR Denarius, 2.73g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 816 (R2). BMC 243. RSC 175.
Obv: DOMITIANVS AVG GERM; Head of Domitian, bare, bearded, r.
Rev: Temple, eight columns, seated figure in centre; IMP CAESAR on architrave
Ex Private Collection.

Domitian struck a rare undated issue of denarii depicting five different temples. Based on portrait style and the fact that Domitian's moneyers were experimenting with new reverse designs after 94, the issue has been dated to either 95 or 96. Four of the five temples have been identified - Serapis, Cybele, Minerva, and Capitoline Jupiter. The fifth type is an octastyle temple, as seen on the coin above, and its identification remains a mystery. Mattingly conjectured it could be the Temple of Divus Vespasian, P.V. Hill and D. Vagi thought it possibly the Temple of Jupiter Victor, R.H. Darwell-Smith speculated it is the Temple of Jupiter Custos, and M. Tameanko believed it to be the Temple of Divus Augustus. Tameanko makes the strongest case. Earlier renditions of the temple on the coinage under Caligula show it with a hexastyle facade. Domitian restored or rebuilt the temple after the fire of 80. His architect Rabirius may have completely overhauled the building in a more contemporary style producing an octastyle temple. Almost a hundred years later Antoninus Pius restored the temple again and struck a series of coins commemorating the event. His coins indeed depict an octastyle temple very much like the one seen on this denarius and may be proof that under Domitian the temple was rebuilt as an octastyle structure. However, until more evidence comes to light, the identification remains uncertain. Like Domitian's earlier Saecular Games series, the temple denarii were likely struck as a special issue, perhaps reflecting Domitian's new interest as builder. The remarkable bare headed portrait further enhances the issue as something special.

Needless to say it is a fantastically rare piece! Additionally, the eight column type may be the scarcest of the temple group, considering I have located only two other examples in trade over the last 15 years. The other two coins (OldRomanCoins 2002, HJB 145, lot 265) are obverse die matches with mine. Oddly, some specimens (BM 234 for example) lack IMP CAESAR on the architrave.

Worn, with some bumps and scrapes, but well-centred and in good style with plenty of eye appeal.
4 commentsDavid Atherton
D519asm.jpg
Domitian RIC-51966 viewsAR Denarius, 3.14g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 519 (C). BMC 113. RSC 223a.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)

Denarii with TR P VII struck in 87 are a bit less common than those with TR P VI, due to the shorter time frame the coins were minted (14 Sept - 31 Dec). No military campaigns are known for 87, hence no new imperial acclamations are recorded on the denarii. The issues for this year are strictly dated by the COS and TR P numbers. The style is similar to the denarii from 86.

Nicely toned with a neat and fine stately portrait.
3 commentsDavid Atherton
vespspqr1.JPG
Vespasian RIC-52369 viewsAR Denarius, 2.71g
Rome Mint, 73 AD
RIC 523 (C). BMC 86a. RSC 517.
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII CEN; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: S P Q R in oak wreath

Despite being listed as "common" in RIC this is a tough coin to find. Worn but the portrait is quite good and the reverse is well centered and fully struck.
1 commentsDavid Atherton