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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 - 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

181 files, last one added on Dec 18, 2018

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

126 files, last one added on Jan 09, 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

211 files, last one added on Jan 15, 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 - 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
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03c Domitian as Caesar RIC 93242 viewsÆ As, 10.65g
Rome mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 932 (C). BMC - .
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS IIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in field; Spes stg. l., with flower
Acquired from Ken Dorney, January 2019.

Spes, the goddess of hope, is seen here as an 'heir apparent' type. She is represented on Roman coins as a young girl, reminiscent of earlier Greek statures depicting Elpis. H. Mattingly in BMCRE II says 'the flower held by Spes is an opening bud, she is raising her skirt in order to hasten forward'. Spes occurs quite commonly throughout the Flavian coinage and is frequently paired up with the young Domitian Caesar, likely expressing a hope or expectation for future dynastic success. It is very Ironic that Spes is often associated with Domitian Caesar on the coinage, considering he would later be the family member most responsible for the dynasty's downfall in 96. Surprisingly, this common Spes type is not in the BM.

The obverse features a quintessential Flavian portrait - unflattering hook nose with full and heavy facial features. Pleasant dark green patina.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJan 15, 2019
T499.jpg
Titus RIC-49952 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.63g
Eastern Mint (Thrace?), 80-81 AD
RIC 499 (C). BMC 310. RPC 502.
Obv: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in field; Mars, with cloak over shoulders, adv. r., with spear and trophy
Acquired from Ken Dorney, December 2018.

A remarkable sestertius from a truly mysterious issue of bronze that was struck under Titus in 80-81. The style (heavily seriffed letters, large portraits, and massive reverse figures), unique obverse legends (DIVI VESP F for Titus), and uncommon fabric (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, which in the main copied types from Rome. 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.

An appealing example with a beautiful sandy patina.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJan 09, 2019
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Titus RIC-23351 viewsÆ As, 11.89g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 233 (R3). BMC - .
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., with branch and cornucopiae
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, December 2018. Ex Hirsch 317, 18 February 2016, lot 2027. Ex Hirsch 249, 6 February 2007, lot 1851.

The various stock Pax types struck for Titus are general carry-overs from Vespasian's reign and are normally seen on Titus' sestertii and asses. This as features a rare variant of the standing Pax type. She is seen here holding a cornucopiae instead of the much more common variant with caduceus. This reverse type with AVGVST instead of AVGVSTI is also extremely rare - only one specimen was known when the new RIC II.1 was published.

Fine style portrait and a pleasing coppery tone.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJan 02, 2019
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Domitian RIC 7829 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.82g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 78 (C2). BMC 261.
Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; S C in field; Minerva stg. l., with spear
Acquired from Vilmar, December 2018.

While Domitian's initial denarius output is dominated by the carry-over pulvinar types from Titus, his first issue of sestertii have a more personal touch with the reverses featuring his patron deity Minerva. These first bronze coins were not struck in massive quantities and likely date between mid October and 31 December 81. The reverse legend indicates he is consul for the seventh time and has already been voted as consul for the eighth time beginning 1 January 82.

Superb portrait with an aged brassy appearance.
2 commentsDavid AthertonDec 26, 2018
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Vespasian RIC-32258 viewsÆ As, 10.55g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 322 (R). BMC 612.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: S C in field; Eagle stg. facing on globe, wings open, head r.
Ex eBay, 20 November 2018. Ex Heritage.

The eagle on globe type was sparingly struck at Rome on the As issues. Introduced during the great bronze mintage of 71, the type harkens back to a similar reverse struck for Divus Augustus under Tiberius and symbolises Vespasian as Augustus' worthy successor. The type was struck much more frequently at Lugdunum.

Strong Roman portrait with a lovely olive green patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonDec 18, 2018
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Vespasian RIC-16769 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.60g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 167 (C3). BMC 543.
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., Vespasian stg. r. with spear and parazonium, foot on helmet; to r., Judaea std. r. on cuirass
Acquired from Denarius, December 2018.

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 capture of Jerusalem in August of 70 is awe inspiring. We have Josephus' description of the joint triumph of 71 held for Vespasian and Titus in book 7 of his 'Jewish War', the buildings and monuments erected by the regime, and more importantly for our purposes we have the coins. Judaea Capta types were struck in all metals for almost as long as the dynasty ruled. The first flurry of these came in 71, presumably in conjunction with the triumph, amidst a great issue of bronze coinage that same year. One of the most iconic Judaea Capta types is this sestertius' reverse featuring a triumphal Vespasian with a defeated Judaea at his feet, not surprisingly one of the more common types from the issue. Vespasian is seen proudly standing holding a spear and parazonium (a triangular sword) with his foot on an enemy helmet, while Judaea is sitting on a captured cuirass in abject despair - take note of their size discrepancy. The iconography on display here strongly hints at what the spectators of the triumph likely witnessed. The slight of hand the Flavian regime devised which transformed defeated rebel provincials into a foreign menace is truly amazing.

'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

Honest wear with some minor cleaning scratches.
6 commentsDavid AthertonDec 11, 2018
D562.jpg
Domitian RIC-56265 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 562 (R). BMC 141. RSC 67.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERMANICVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS XIIII across field; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Spink eAuction 18055, 7 November 2018, The Michael Kelly Collection of Roman Coins part 2, lot 95.

In 88 AD Domitian struck a brief special issue of Minerva denarii with unusual obverse legends and austere reverse designs. The obverse legends deviate from the usual formula, sometimes spelling out fully DOMITIANVS and/or GERMANICVS and lacking a TR P number. The reverses feature only a terse legend across field with the IMP number absent. Here is an example from this rare issue with GERMANICVS spelled out on the obverse and the consular number across field on the reverse. Why the mint was experimenting with the legends and the layout of the reverses in 88 is a mystery. Perhaps the issue was struck in conjunction with a special event that year (the Secular Games?) and are commemorative in nature. Regardless, the mint soon returned the denarius to its conventional Minerva arrangement, hinting that these scarce issues were indeed struck for a special occasion.

Struck in good style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonDec 05, 2018
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Vespasian RIC-19068 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.22g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 190 (C3). BMC 560.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ROMA; S C in field; Roma stg. l., with Victory and spear
Ex Pegasi 39, 13 November 2018, lot 467. Ex Bonhams, 11 June 2018, group lot 3. Ex Superior 2-3 June 1998, The J. B. Parker Collection, lot 7023.

In 71 AD the Rome and Lugdunum mints struck a massive iconic issue of aes coinage for Vespasian, setting the tone for the bronze coinage for the remainder of the reign. One of the commonest sestertius types struck for the issue was Roma holding Victory. Roma is depicted in the guise of an Amazon warrior, a typical attribute for her on the coinage during the Flavian era.

Fantastic portrait in good style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonNov 27, 2018
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Vespasian-RIC-120270 viewsÆ As, 10.37g
Lyon mint, 72 AD
RIC 1202 (C2). BMC 822.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS IIII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: S C in field; Eagle stg. front on globe, wings outstretched, head r.
Acquired from Felicitas Perpetua, October 2018.

This iconic eagle on globe type copies a similar reverse struck under Tiberius for Divus Augustus. The connection to Augustus demonstrates Vespasian's worthiness as his successor. The type is fairly rare at Rome and more commonly found from the mint at Lugdunum (Lyon). It is almost exclusively reserved for the As issues at both mints.

A wonderful early portrait from Lyon, highlighted by a beautiful dark brown patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonNov 20, 2018
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Vespasian RIC-89766 viewsÆ As, 9.85g
Rome mint, 76 AD
RIC 897 (R). BMC p. 169 note.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESP AVG COS VII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
Ex eBay, 30 October 2018.

This As is part of a small bronze issue struck during the middle part of the Vespasian's reign and features the perennial favourite reverse of Victory on prow, a type more commonly found on the As issues at Rome. Unlike the VICTORIA NAVALIS type which likely celebrated a minor naval victory from the Jewish War, this Victory can be viewed in more generic terms. A similar type was also struck in silver on the denarii the previous year.

Strong middle-period portrait with pleasing dark chocolate patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonNov 13, 2018
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Vespasian-RIC-123395 viewsÆ As, 9.19g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1233 (C). BMC 845.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: IVDAEA CAPTA; S C in exergue; Palm tree; to r., Judaea std. r.; to l. of tree, arms
Acquired from Zuzim, October 2018.

The amount of propaganda the Flavian regime was able to squeeze out of the Jewish War is astounding. Here we have an As struck seven or eight years after the fall of Jerusalem still touting the Jewish defeat. It was the singular event that more than anything else gave the dynasty its prestige. It would have been unseemly to celebrate the defeat of fellow Romans after the end of the Civil War, but quite appropriate to do so over an eastern people, despite the fact they were within the boundaries of the Roman empire. This As was struck in a fairly large issue from the Lyon mint, presumably to address a shortage of bronze coinage in the western provinces late in Vespasian's reign.

Distinctive Lyon portrait, struck on a bent flan.
5 commentsDavid AthertonNov 08, 2018
RPC1389.jpg
RPC-1389-Vespasian 58 viewsÆ25, 9.00g
Apamea, Phrygia mint, Plancius Varus, magistrate
RPC 1389 (15 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPOTΩP KAIΣAP ΣΕΒΑΣΤΟΣ OYEΣΠΑΣIANOΣ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r,
Rev: EΠΙ ΠΛΑNKIOY OYAPOY KOINON ΦPYΓIAΣ ΑΠΑMEIΣ; bundle of five corn-ears
Acquired from Tom Vossen, October 2018.

The important crossroads city of Apamea produced only one issue of coins during the Flavian era for the Koinon of Phrygia. M. Dräger has proposed that the issue could have been struck to help finance the Koinon's recovery after an earthquake, citing an ambiguous remark in Suetonius about Vespasian's civic generosity - 'he restored to a better condition very many states throughout the whole world that had been afflicted by earthquakes or fire' (Vesp. 17). It is quite possible that such a disaster occurred during Vespasian's reign in Phrygia since the region is prone to frequent seismic activity. Earthquakes are known to have previously struck the area in 53 and 60 AD and Strabo speaks of such a disaster which rocked the region during the Mithridatic Wars. The issue is undated, but names Plancius Varus, who perhaps is the same person that is recorded as a Flavian legate in Asia during the reign of Vespasian. Varus is thought to have died by 81. The type of five bundled corn-ears echoes a similar reverse of two bundled corn-ears struck by the city under Augustus.

Nice green patina featuring a severe portrait of Vespasian.
5 commentsDavid AthertonNov 06, 2018
V1556.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-155681 viewsAR Denarius, 3.42g
Antioch mint, 72-73 AD
RIC 1556 (R3). BMC - . RSC - . RPC - .
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VESTA; Vesta stg. l., with simpulum and sceptre
Ex Numismatic Naumann 70, 7 October 2018, lot 411.

Second known example of the Antioch RIC group 5 Vesta. A double die match with the other published specimen, CNG 61, 25 September 2002, lot 1689, and an obverse die match with the extremely rare AVGVR TRI POT and VICTORIA AVGVSTI types from the same issue. All of these copy common contemporaneous reverse types from Rome.

Slightly off centre in good Antiochene style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonOct 30, 2018
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Vespasian RIC-759101 viewsÆ 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.
8 commentsDavid AthertonOct 23, 2018
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Domitian RIC 1568 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 15 (R2). BMC - . RSC - .
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: P P COS VII DES VIII; Seat, draped; above, semicircular frame decorated with corn ears
Ex Savoca Blue 10, 30 September 2018, lot 1212.

The rapidity in which Domitian's first denarius issues of 81 came one after another hint that he was in a great hurry to strike coins as Augustus after Titus' death in mid September 81 AD, presumably for a legionary donative. Dio records that Domitian hastened to the praetorian camp to 'receive the title and authority of the emperor' and promised the soldiers the same bounty Titus had provided. The Roman mint immediately began striking coins for the new emperor. This denarius was struck before Domitian had been awarded the power of the tribunate (TR P). Perhaps it may have taken a few days for the Senate to award the power of the tribunate to Domitian because they had assembled at the small town of Reate where Titus had died and needed to be in Rome in order to vote him the right. Although this Group 2 denarius is not part of Domitian's first RIC issue, it is very likely to have been struck within the first few weeks of him assuming the purple. RIC notes the chronology is not precise with these issues from 81 and they are grouped only for 'convenience'. Judging by the rarity of the Group 2 denarii they could not have been struck for any great length of time.

The type of draped seat with semi circular frame is a carry-over 'pulvinaria' type from Titus, possibly originally struck in connection with the Colosseum's opening games' religious ceremonies. Domitian's 'pulvinaria' coins are a stop-gap issue struck until proper reverse types were designed for the new reign in early 82 when the mint and coinage were overhauled.

Good early style portrait, unsurprisingly reminiscent of those struck for him as Caesar under Titus.
4 commentsDavid AthertonOct 16, 2018
T168sm.jpg
Titus RIC-16879 viewsÆ Sestertius, 23.01g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 168 (C2). BMC 168.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in field; Spes stg. l., with flower
Ex Felicitas-Perpetua, eBay, 23 September 2018.

Spes is a common reverse type under Vespasian, connected to future dynastic hope and harmony. It continued to be struck by Titus and can be viewed as his hope for the future with his chosen heir Domitian. As Mattingly put it: '...the recurring types of Spes suggests that Titus gave Domitian full due as heir to the throne.' Suetonious would have us believe this public fraternal affection was a sham and Domitian did everything he could to plot against Titus. Dio goes so far as to say Domitian hastened Titus death by having him packed in ice! All of this can be dismissed as nothing more than post Domitianic gossip intended to blacken Domitian's name. The Flavian historian Brian Jones speculates the brother's relationship was one of 'mutual indifference and ignorance' due to their age and personality differences. Regardless, as the numismatic evidence shows, Titus looked upon Domitian as his legitimate heir until his natural death in mid September 81.

The reverse is quite worn, but no matter, the portrait makes up for any of the reverse's deficiencies. A wonderful coin in hand!
5 commentsDavid AthertonOct 09, 2018

Random files - David Atherton's Gallery
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Titus as Caesar RIC 371148 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Rome Mint, 72-73AD (Vespasian)
RIC 371 (R2). BMC p.15. RSC 394.
Obv: T CAES IMP VESP PON TR POT; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: No Legend; Titus stg. r. with branch and sceptre, in quadriga r.
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

Part of an issue that celebrates the Jewish War victory showing Titus in a Triumphal quadriga, much as he would've appeared during the joint Triumph he held with his father Vespasian in 71 AD. The type was issued both in Rome and more commonly in Antioch.

I have looked for this Rome mint issue of the type for many years and had no luck. Recently Harry Sneh offered this example to me, naturally, I couldn't resist. The coin is worn but most of the major devices are intact and the portrait is a wonderful example of the young Prince.
2 commentsvespasian70
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RPC-2422-Vespasian53 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 10.91g
Alexandria mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 2422 (16 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYVEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laurerate, r., date LΓ before neck
Rev: EI-PH-NH; Eirene standing l., with corn-ears and caduceus
Acquired from Beast Coins, August 2015.

The regnal year 3 tetradrachms struck at Alexandria are not quite as frequently encountered as those of year 2. Notice the style of the portrait is strikingly similar to the contemporary 'Syrian' tetradrachms (see my RPC 1947 for comparison). Strong evidence that some of the 'Antioch' issues were actually struck in Alexandria.

Despite the wear, the bold portrait of Vespasian is quite pleasing.
1 commentsDavid Atherton
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Vespasian-RIC-123395 viewsÆ As, 9.19g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1233 (C). BMC 845.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: IVDAEA CAPTA; S C in exergue; Palm tree; to r., Judaea std. r.; to l. of tree, arms
Acquired from Zuzim, October 2018.

The amount of propaganda the Flavian regime was able to squeeze out of the Jewish War is astounding. Here we have an As struck seven or eight years after the fall of Jerusalem still touting the Jewish defeat. It was the singular event that more than anything else gave the dynasty its prestige. It would have been unseemly to celebrate the defeat of fellow Romans after the end of the Civil War, but quite appropriate to do so over an eastern people, despite the fact they were within the boundaries of the Roman empire. This As was struck in a fairly large issue from the Lyon mint, presumably to address a shortage of bronze coinage in the western provinces late in Vespasian's reign.

Distinctive Lyon portrait, struck on a bent flan.
5 commentsDavid Atherton
D786.jpg
Domitian RIC-786181 viewsAR Denarius, 3.06g
Rome Mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 786 (R2). BMC 237A. RSC 295.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Maia adv. l., with dove and caduceus
Ex Gemini XI, 12 January 2014, lot 418. Ex C. Clay Collection. Ex Voirol Collection, M&M 38, 6-7 December 1968, lot 403. Ex M&M VI, 6-7 December 1946, lot 804. This specimen published by H. A. Cahn, 'Flaviana indedita', Num. Chronicle 1946 p. 22, 50.

A "Strange and uncertain reverse" is how this type for many years was described by the major reference catalogues. It is so rare that its very existence was in doubt. Eventually, other examples surfaced (including my coin in 1946) establishing there was indeed a "strange" type struck by Domitian towards the end of his reign. A woman with bird was the normal description until 2002 when T. V. Buttrey published in the Journal of Roman Archaeology a short paper establishing once and for all who the woman is and possibly why the type was struck. He identified her as Maia, the mother of Hermes/Mercury, wearing a winged helmet and possibly winged sandals. Maia is to be identified with "natural growth and commercial success" according to Buttrey. He further writes "For the precious metals, the constant themes were Domitian's offices, his military successes, his piety (in particular his relationship with Minerva), and the divine grace which infused his life, and by extension, that of the community. It is in this context that Maia should be understood, the coin illustrating the emperor's acknowledgement of the goddess's abundant favor."

Needless to say the type is fantastically rare, with perhaps a dozen known examples from only two reverse dies. The reverse die shown here (with my obverse dated TR P XV) is also shared with an obverse die dated TR P XVI, placing this coin in the very last weeks of Domitian's reign. During this time Domitian was introducing many new reverse types (winged Minerva, altar, temple reverses), perhaps indicating a change in direction regarding the typology on his precious metal coinage. However, the experiment was cut short by an assassin's blade, so we shall never know.

The example here has a very fine portrait for a late period piece and is well toned.

10 commentsDavid Atherton