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Imperial Coinage of Vespasian


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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, I. Carradice and T.V. Buttrey (London, 2007)
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II, H. Mattingly (London, 1966)
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II, H.A. Seaby (London, 1979)
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II, A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice (London and Paris, 1999)
BNC - Monnaies de l'Empire Romain III, J.-B. Giard (Paris, 1998)

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

203 files, last one added on Oct 11, 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, I. Carradice and T.V. Buttrey (London, 2007)
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II, H. Mattingly (London, 1966)
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II, H.A. Seaby (London, 1979)
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II, A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice (London and Paris, 1999)
BNC - Monnaies de l'Empire Romain III, J.-B. Giard (Paris, 1998)

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

144 files, last one added on Oct 03, 2019

Imperial Coinage of Domitian


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Titus Flavius Domitianus - Caesar 69-81 AD, Augustus 8196 AD

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

References cited:
RIC - The Roman Imperial Coinage II Part 1, I. Carradice and T.V. Buttrey (London, 2007)
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II, H. Mattingly (London, 1966)
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II, H.A. Seaby (London, 1979)
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II, A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice (London and Paris, 1999)
BNC - Monnaies de l'Empire Romain III, J.-B. Giard (Paris, 1998)

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

224 files, last one added on Sep 20, 2019

Imperial Coinage of Julia Titi


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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, I. Carradice and T.V. Buttrey (London, 2007)
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II, H. Mattingly (London, 1966)
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II, H.A. Seaby (London, 1979)
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II, A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice (London and Paris, 1999)
BNC - Monnaies de l'Empire Romain III, J.-B. Giard (Paris, 1998)

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


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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, I. Carradice and T.V. Buttrey (London, 2007)
BMC - Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum II, H. Mattingly (London, 1966)
RSC - Roman Silver Coins II, H.A. Seaby (London, 1979)
RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II, A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice (London and Paris, 1999)
BNC - Monnaies de l'Empire Romain III, J.-B. Giard (Paris, 1998)

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, A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice (London and Paris, 1999)

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 Mnzsammlung
New York, American Numismatic Society
Oxford, Ashmolean Museum
Paris, Bibliothque Nationale de France
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

70 files, last one added on Aug 29, 2019

6 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - David Atherton's Gallery
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Vespasian RIC-15932 views Sestertius, 26.69g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IVDAEA CAPTA; S C in exergue; Palm tree; to l. Captive stg. r.; to r., Judaea std. r. on cuirass; both figures surrounded by arms
RIC 159 (C3). BMC 532. BNC 490, pl. XLIV (same dies).
Acquired from Witter Coins, eBay, October 2019. Ex Triton V, 16 January 2002, lot 1913 (From the Robert Schonwalter Collection). Ex Worner List 1, January 1951, no. 394. Formerly in NGC holder #4683650-005, with grade 'F', strike 5/5, surface 3/5.

Ambition sighed: she found it vain to trust
The faithless column and the crumbling bust;
Huge moles, whose shadow stretched from shore to shore,
Their ruins perished, and their place no more!
Convinced, she now contracts her vast design,
And all her triumphs shrink into a coin.
A narrow orb each crowded conquest keeps,
Beneath her palm here sad Judea weeps. -
Alexander Pope, To Mr. Addison, Occasioned by his Dialogues on Medals II. 19-26

For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen ... Thy men shall fall by the sword and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn, and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground - Isaiah III.25-26.

In 70 AD Jerusalem was besieged and sacked and the Temple razed by the Roman forces commanded by Titus Caesar. The following year a massive joint Triumph was held in Rome for Vespasian and Titus to celebrate their successful conclusion of the Jewish Rebellion. Coins were also issued to commemorate their victory. These so called 'Judaea Capta' coins first appeared in late 70 just after the fall of Jerusalem in August, both in the precious metals and at first sparingly in bronze. It wasn't until 71, the year of the triumph, that the bronze coinage came into its own with a whole host of 'Judaea Capta' types. Probably the most famous of these depicts the ubiquitous date palm with a standing bound captive to the left and a seated Judaea to the right, both surrounded by arms. The second bronze issue of 71 saw these produced in massive quantities (Colin Kraay knew of 23 reverse dies paired with this obverse). Although the overall allegorical meaning of the reverse is readily apparent, what each individual device specifically symbolises is open to debate. We are on firm ground to assume the date palm represents the land of Judaea as H. Mattingly proposed in BMCRE II (although J. M. Cody speculated the palm possibly represents the Roman victory). The motif of the standing captive is copied from earlier Republican coin issues, reminiscent of the Gaulish and Spanish captives on those Republican types. His dress indicates he is a barbarian from outside the boundaries of Roman civilisation. In the spirit of the 'Vercingetorix' denarius, H. St. J. Hart proposed the captive is actually either Simon Bar Giora or John of Gischala(!), the two defeated Jewish commanders. The seated female figure is the personification of Judaea, the daughter of Zion. This figure is frequently seen on the various designs of the series, often paired with the palm tree. Her attitude of mourning and dejection leaves little doubt she is lamenting the defeat of her people.

Modern viewers see this as a forlorn scene of defeat, however, to the Roman coin designers the images are meant to convey victory over a worthy foe. The Jewish War was an important event for the fledgling Flavian dynasty - in essence it gave them the legitimacy to rule. The ensuing propaganda onslaught after the 'Gotterdammerung' fall of Jerusalem is awe inspiring. The slight of hand the Flavian regime pulled off which transformed defeated rebel provincials into a foreign menace is truly amazing. The coins were a major part of the regime's propaganda commemorating Vespasian's defeat of the Jews and saving the empire. Their efforts paid off, for even today this 'Judaea Capta' type is one of the most iconic and recognised reverses in the whole of Roman coinage.

Fantastic surfaces in good metal. A beauty in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonOct 11, 2019
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Vespasian RIC-22132 views Sestertius, 19.38g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTI; S C in exergue; Victory stg. r., l. foot on helmet, inscribing OB / CIV / SERV on shield on palm tree; to r., Judaea std. r.
RIC 221 (C3). BMC 582. BNC 561.
Ex CNG eAuction 453, 2 October 2019, lot 522.

The commonness of most Judaea Capta types underscores how important the Jewish War and subsequent defeat of the Jews was to the fledgling Flavian dynasty. This iconic sestertius from the second bronze issue of 71 was struck in fairly plentiful numbers and copies a similar Victory type coined under Vitellius. It very likely was the first 'Judaea Capta' type struck for Vespasian. Colin Kraay records 21 different reverse dies used for this one type alone. The iconography on the reverse is quite explicit. Victory, nude from the waist up, is inscribing a shield attached to the trunk of a palm tree, the palm being a topographical symbol for the land of Judaea. The personification of Judaea herself sits in dejected mode to the right of the palm. The inscription on the shield, OB CIV SERV - 'for saving the citizens', credits the emperor for keeping the empire safe. The clear allegorical message of the reverse giving the credit to Vespasian for defeating the Jews and saving the empire would have been quite apparent to most people handling this coin. The amount of propaganda squeezed from the rebellion of such a small region is indeed remarkable. Josephus' declaration of the Jewish War as the 'greatest' of all time would have been quite welcomed by the Flavian regime.

Beautiful dark olive green patina good style.

NB: Special thanks to Curtis Clay for the Kraay citation.
2 commentsDavid AthertonOct 07, 2019
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Titus RIC-13722 views Sestertius, 23.56g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: ANNONA AVG; Annona stg. l., with statuette of Aequitas and cornucopiae; to l., modius with corn ears; to r., stern of ship
RIC 137 (C2). BMC 153. BNC 152.
Acquired from Dr. Busso Peus Nachf., September 2019.

Ensuring that the urban plebs were well fed was an important responsibility of the emperor. The reliability of the imperial grain supply from Africa was crucial. This sestertius struck in 80-81 by Titus advertises his commitment, through the auspices of Annona, to fairly provide enough bread for the dole. Annona holding a figure of Aequitas, while standing next to a modius full of corn, and with a docked grain ship in the background was explicitly powerful propaganda. Every pleb had little doubt who to thank for their daily bread. This fairly common sestertius was struck during Titus' great issue of bronze in 80-81. Oddly, the reverse lacks the Senatus Consulto decree seen on most of his imperial bronze.

A fabulous portrait in fine style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonOct 03, 2019
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Titus RIC 7037 views As, 8.70g
Rome mint, 79 AD
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., leaning on column, with caduceus and branch
RIC 70 (R2). BMC p. 253 note. BNC -.
Acquired from Mnzen & Medaillen, September 2019.

Titus' first issues of bronze as Augustus struck in 79, dated COS VII, are all very rare. They were produced sometime during the last six months of the year after his rise to the purple at the end of June, presumably in very modest numbers based on the meagre specimens that have survived antiquity. This As from that scanty issue features the familiar Pax and column type, likely based on a familiar cult image of the deity. Pax is holding a caduceus, an allusion to the peaceful prosperity credited to the emperor. Missing from both the London and Paris collections.

Worn, but with a beautiful olive green patina and bold legends.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 27, 2019
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Vespasian RIC 6441 views As, 9.15g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M TR P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: T ET DOMITIAN CAESARES PRIN IVVENT; S C in field; Titus and Domitian riding r., with hands raised
RIC 64 (R2). BMC 750. BNC 469.
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, September 2019.

An extremely rare early dynastic As struck during Vespasian's first As issue at Rome. H. Mattingly in the BMCRE mistakenly attributes it to Tarraco, but does express doubt in a footnote. Only one reverse die is known and apparently it was used to produce both dupondii and Asses. This specimen is undoubtedly an As due to the copper composition and the low weight. It is a double die match with the lone specimen in the BM and both examples in the BN. This reverse with Titus and Domitian on horseback (oddly, Cohen has them holding spears) copies a similar type struck on the denarius and boldly announces Vespasian's intention to found a dynasty.

Interestingly, this early style portrait features an aegis, an added level of prestige.
2 commentsDavid AthertonSep 25, 2019
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Domitian RIC-38337 views As, 9.49g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: MONETA AVGVST; S C in field; Moneta stg. l., with scales and cornucopiae
RIC 383 (C3). BMC -. BNC 374.
Acquired from Musa Numismatic, September 2019.

In 82 Domitian reformed the coinage by increasing the weight of the gold and fineness of the silver. Production of the bronze coinage was suspended while the mint was reorganised and resumed in 84 with new reverse types and a higher artistic standard. Appropriately, one of the first types struck on the bronze after the coinage reform was Moneta, 'mint goddess of the emperor'. H. Mattingly believes Moneta in this context can be seen as symbolising Domitian's control of the mint and as paymaster to the empire. A fitting reverse design for an emperor who cared so much for his coinage. Mirroring the silver, many of the bronze coins struck in the first year or so after the coinage reform have portraits with an aegis, an extra detail likely due to Domitian's attentive care. Under Domitian Moneta became a regular feature of the coinage and was struck year after year on the As issues. This example from 85 is one of the most common types struck for the As that year. Oddly enough, it is missing from the BM.

One gets the impression that Domitian was quite proud of his coinage reforms and Moneta was a symbolic reverse celebrating that achievement.

A nice example in hand, much better than the photo suggests.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 20, 2019
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Titus as Caesar RIC 63532 views As, 10.08g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: T CAES IMP PON TR P COS II CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in exergue; Titus stg. r., with branch and sceptre, in quadriga r.
RIC 635 (R). BMC -. BNC 688.
Acquired from Marc Breitsprecher, September 2019.

In 71 AD Vespasian and Titus held a double triumph celebrating their victory in the recently concluded Judaean War. The spectacular triumph was held a few days after Titus' arrival from the East in June and could be viewed as his effective homecoming party. Mary Beard has shrewdly observed that the triumph served as 'the Flavian coronation, the official launch party and press night of the Flavian dynasty.' It was the first time after Vespasian's rise to the purple that the whole family could be seen together by the Roman populace. Vespasian and Titus were identically dressed riding in matching quadrigas while Domitian trotted alongside on a splendid mount. By showcasing his eldest son on an equal footing in the procession, it left little doubt who would succeed after his death. Coins were struck in all metals to commemorate the event. Here is a rare As with a reverse depicting Titus Caesar in a triumphal quadriga, a clear commemoration of the joint triumph. Oddly, this type is more commonly seen in silver from Antioch. The piece serves as a superb memento of the 'Greatest Show on Earth' triumph put on by the Flavian regime in the late First century.

Not in the BM. RIC cites only a specimen in the Paris collection (BNC 688), a double die match with this coin as pointed out by C. Clay.

Worn, but the major devices are still quite visible.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 19, 2019
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Titus RIC-24848 views As, 10.39g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
RIC 248 (C). BMC 217. BNC 222.
Acquired from eBay, September 2019.

A fairly common As struck in Titus' large second issue of bronze in 80-81. Because Titus did not take up the consulship in 81, the issue cannot be dated more precisely. The Victory on prow is a carry-over type from the coinage of Vespasian, who in turn borrowed it from the coinage of Augustus. It is a fairly popular generic design symbolising the emperor's military successes. The prow lends it a nautical theme, perhaps alluding to a successful ongoing Flavian naval policy.

Very attractively toned with a pleasing portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonSep 14, 2019
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Vespasian RIC-24333 views Sestertius, 25.77g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVSTI; S C in field; Pax stg. l., with branch and cornucopiae
RIC 243 (C3). BMC 555. BNC 516.
Acquired from Wallinmynt, September 2019.

The standing Pax is one of the most common types encountered on Vespasian's sestertii struck during the great bronze issue of 71, mirroring the prominent role Pax played on his early denarii. Colin Kraay counted a staggering 31 obverse dies paired with this sestertius reverse type alone. Here Pax is represented holding a cornucopiae (on the denarius she holds a caduceus) symbolising the emperor's gift of peace and prosperity to the empire.

A strong veristic portrait in good metal.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 12, 2019
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01 Domitian as Caesar RIC 66923 views As, 11.05g
Rome mint, 73-74 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIAN COS II; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., leaning on column, with caduceus and branch
RIC 669 (C). BMC -. BNC 699.
Acquired from Musa Numismatics, August 2019.

The propaganda value of Pax for the Flavian dynasty after the Civil War, the revolt of Civilis, and the Jewish War cannot be underestimated. In her various guises she is one of the most popular types on Vespasian's coinage and shows up quite frequently during the reign on the coins struck for both himself and his sons. This As struck for Domitian as Caesar shows Pax leaning on a column, which likely copies a well known cult image of the goddess.

Tellingly, less than a decade later, Pax would not feature so prominently on Domitian's own coinage as Emperor.

Fine style early portrait.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 07, 2019
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Domitian RIC-70925 views As, 10.61g
Rome mint, 90-91 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XV CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VIRTVTI AVGVSTI; S C in field; Virtus stg. r., foot on helmet, with spear and parazonium
RIC 709 (C2). BMC 452. BNC 482.
Acquired from Prafectus Coins, August 2019.

The Virtus type was struck repeatedly on Domitian's middle bronze from 84 onwards. I. Carradice in his 1983 monograph on Domitian's coinage says the following concerning the type - 'Virtus is a military type, symbolic of the courage of Domitian and the mutual devotion between the army and emperor.' Virtus first appears on the coinage in the flurry of Germania Capta types that were struck soon after Domitian's German triumph. She is depicted in traditional Amazon attire.

A superb example in fine style.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 05, 2019
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RPC-1672-Domitian39 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.47g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 93-94 AD
Obv: AYT KAI ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOC ΓЄPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTO ΙΓ; Mt Argaeus; on summit, radiate figure standing l., globe in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
RPC 1672 (17 spec.).
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, August 2019.

During Domitian's reign, the mint at Rome struck silver drachms and didrachms for circulation in Cappadocia, all of which can be dated to 93-94 AD. They can be distinguished as Rome mint issues by style and their 6 o'clock die axis. This didrachm features the ethnic reverse type of Mt. Argaeus surmounted by a figure. The engravers at Rome presumably had never seen the mountain in person and likely based the design on a standardised model, possibly a cult image. The figure's identity atop the mountain is uncertain - perhaps it is either Helios or the personification of the mountain itself. The portrait style is similar to Domitian's contemporaneous denarii.

In good style and well centred.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 29, 2019
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Domitian RIC-39742 views Sestertius, 26.19g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM XI CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: GERMANIA CAPTA; S C in exergue; Trophy; to r., German captive stg. r., hands bound, head l.; to l., Germania std. l.; around arms
RIC 397 (R2). BMC 361. BNC -.
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, August 2019.

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 military victory over the Germanic tribe the Chatti. The details of the war are unclear, but the overall impression is that the conflict was a minor affair blown out of proportion by an emperor eager for military glory. Consequently, Domitian's Germanic triumph of 83 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. Germania Capta types were first struck in silver in 84 and in bronze in 85. This iconic Germania Capta sestertius strongly echoes Vespasian's Judaea Capta types - but instead of a trophy we see a palm tree and a bound captive replaces the triumphal emperor. H. Mattingly writes in BMCRE 'the type is closely modelled on the Judaea Capta of Vespasian, but the German element is indicated by the heavy angular cloak worn by the man and by the oblong shields.' Comparing the two triumphs, the Josephian scholar Steve Mason remarked - 'The same people who produced Flavian Triumph I: Judaea were on hand for Flavian Triumph II: Germania, and sequels are rarely as good as the originals.'

The Germania Capta sestertii were produced for only a few short years between 85-88. The present example from the third issue of 85 is a rare variant with an obverse legend struck just after Domitian had become censor for life (CENS PER).
3 commentsDavid AthertonAug 25, 2019
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Domitian RIC-38536 views As, 10.60g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: SALVTI above, AVGVSTI below; S C in field; Altar
RIC 385 (C2). BMC 358. BNC 379.
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, August 2019.

The SALVTI AVGVSTI altar type was first introduced on Domitian's aes coinage in 84 after a brief hiatus of the Senatorial mint's production in 82-83, presumably for re-organisational purposes. The structure on the reverse has been traditionally described as an altar, however, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. He states the steps at the base leading to two doors with handles are overwhelming evidence that the structure was much larger than an altar. As far as the shrine's significance - H. Mattingly in BMCRE II interprets the type as commemorating the Senate's dedication of an altar shrine celebrating Domitian's safe return from the Germanic Wars of 82-83. Alternately, the shrine may have been dedicated as an appeal to Salus for the emperor's continued good health. In any case, no trace of the shrine has survived antiquity.

This As with its aegis, large flan (30mm), and elegant idealised style are all hallmarks of the new direction introduced after the Senatorial mint's overhaul.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 19, 2019
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Vespasian-RIC-1426(5A)342 viewsAR Denarius, 3.25g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI ORB TERR AVG; Turreted and draped female bust, r.; no mintmark
RIC 1426(5A)3 (R3). BMC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, May 2019.

This is an extremely rare denarius from Ephesus struck without a mintmark and the second known example of the Turreted female bust type lacking one. The Ephesian denarius issues struck under Vespasian all have mintmarks, save for the first and one tiny issue dated COS III. Aside from this turreted female type and the accompanying footnote, this issue is not represented in the new RIC II.1. Ted Buttrey wrote in the RIC II Addenda the following concerning the no mintmark issue:

'Im not terribly happy about this. Its a convenient way to draw together several pieces which lack the mintmark, placing them after the completion of the ΘΙ and ΘΥ Groups 3-5 and the inception of Group 6 with ΕΡΗ. But why should they have given up on a mintmark in mid-course, when all of Groups 2-9 are marked? The choices are (i) mintmark on coins worn away; (ii) engraver forgot to add mintmark to the dies; (iii) issue deliberately produced without mintmark. Assuming (iii) for the moment, the new Group takes the place of fnn. 46-47, pp.162-3, and fits here nicely with Vs title for Groups 5-6, and Ts for Group 6, But I have no fixed opinion, and await the appearance of others of this variety.'

IMHO, either ii or iii are the most likely option. There are specimens from this non-mintmark issue (such as the present coin) that have no available space on the flan for a mintmark, thus, one was never intended either deliberately or accidentally. No mintmarks occur on various dies spanning different reverse types for both Vespasian and Titus Caesar, because of this I lean more towards this being intentional.

Struck in high relief with the reverse slightly off centred.

NB: This coin shares a reverse die with my Titus Caesar example of the type.
5 commentsDavid AthertonAug 15, 2019
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Domitian RIC-36760 views Dupondius, 11.64g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, radiate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: ANNONA AVG; S C in exergue; Annona, std r., holding open on lap by two ends bag full of corn-ears; in front of her stands a small figure, l., also holding two ends of bag, and in the background, stern of ship
RIC 367 (C). BMC 347. BNC 364.
Ex eBay, August 2019.

A most curious reverse type was struck for Domitian on his dupondii for a short period between 84-88. Here we see Annona seated holding open a bag(?) of corn-ears and a mysterious small figure standing before her holding the other end of the bag with a ship's stern in the background. Overall, the reverse likely alludes to Domitian's care of the corn supply, hinted at by the stern, here a symbol of the all important African grain ships. The small individual before Annona has variously been described as a 'boy', a 'child', or ambiguously as just a 'figure'. H. Mattingly has the most imaginative explanation in BMCRE II - 'Annona herself, the spirit of the corn-supply, and the ship, the symbol of the overseas corn, are familiar: but who is the small figure who stands before her? He is certainly no child, but only a man reduced to tiny proportions beside the goddess; and the fact that he is bare to the waist may suggest that he is an Italian farmer. If this interpretation is right, the type records a definite policy of Domitian to encourage the growing of corn in Italy.' Mattingly may be correct about the overall meaning, but I think the figure is indeed a child, symbolic of the emperor's care, through Annona's auspices, for his subjects.

Flatly struck on one side, but in fine style.
7 commentsDavid AthertonAug 10, 2019

Random files - David Atherton's Gallery
V984a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-984 Mule92 viewsAR Denarius, 2.80g
Rome Mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IMP XIII in exergue; Sow l., with three piglets
RIC 984 (R2). BMC p.62, 21. RSC 210. BNC -.
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

A rare mule combing an obverse of Vespasian and a reverse of Titus as Caesar. The reverse type was issued simultaneously for both, so one can understand how they could easily have gotten mixed up.

Not in the best condition, but the legends are fairly clear and the strike is reasonably centered.
2 commentsDavid Atherton
titus53.jpg
Titus RIC 2592 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 79 AD
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII P P; Slow quadriga l., with round basket-like car, garlanded, in which are three corn ears
RIC 25 (C). BMC 18. RSC 278. BNC 15.
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, May 2006.

A carry over reverse from Vespasian's last month and was one of the first types issued by Titus as Augustus. The BMCRE states that this reverse is borrowed from the coinage of L. Aquillius and M. Durmius, monyers under Augustus. It depicts the procession of the calathus of Ceres.

Not the best example of this type by a long shot, but a nice well centered denarius that has been through many Roman hands. I quite like it.
Vespasian70
T388aa.jpg
Julia Titi RIC 38890 viewsAR Denarius, 3.09g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
Obv: IVLIA AVGVSTA TITI AVGVSTI F; Bust of Julia Titi, draped and diademed, r., hair in long plait
Rev: VENVS AVGVST; Venus stg. r., leaning on column, with helmet and spear
RIC 388 (C2). BMC 142. RSC 14. BNC 106.
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, August 2017.

The most 'common' variant of Julia Titi's Venus denarii. However, I think RIC's frequency rating of 'C2' overstates the case. The same reverse type is also shared with Titus. Stylistic note - many of Julia's portraits have the facial features of either Titus or Domitian Caesar, this example is no exception.

Struck on a large flan in decent style.

8 commentsDavid Atherton
V1440.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC-1440118 viewsAR Denarius, 3.27g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: IMPERATOR T CAESAR AVGVSTI F; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue, EPHE
RIC 1440 (R). BMC 467. RSC 39. RPC 843 (4 spec.). BNC 358.
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 741.

Another great portrait of the young Titus from this artistically pleasing mint. The reverse is one shared with Vespasian.
An obverse and reverse die match to the RIC plate coin, perhaps an indication of its rarity.
5 commentsDavid Atherton