Flavius Domitianus b.51, (71) 81-96 A.D.
Read about Domitian at
De Imperatoribus Romanis
For an extensive article on the reign of Domitian, by David A. Wend, click here.

The Minerva reverse types:
1.  Minerva, draped, wearing aegis, standing right, holding shield and brandishing javelin
2. As above, but she stands on a Columna Rostrata (column, decorated with two figures - perhaps Jupiter seated left, holding scepter and on the right, captive - and surmounted by two ship prows); owl at feet
3. Minerva, draped, no aegis, standing left, holding thunderbolt and spear; shield at feet
4. Minerva, draped, no aegis, standing left, holding spear, right hand on hip.


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160. Silver denarius, Rome later part of 81 A.D., Carradice 81.2a var., noted page 13
IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMIT AVG PONT, laureate head right
P P COS VII DES VIII,
Wreath set on curule chair.

This is just the third known specimen with the interesting obverse legend which combines the "DIVI VESP F" variant and the "PONT" variant. The  "DIVI VESP F" coins are rather easy to obtain from the bulk of the 81 AD coinage  while the "PONT" coins are rare. A combination of the two only seem to occur on just two obverse dies used to strike very few curule chairs coins and the second for altar coins. Also the reverse legend is a scarce one, lacking the "TR P" mention.  The other two surviving coins from these dies are: one in the Institut fur Antike Numismatik in Vienna and one from the Leo Benz collection, sold in 1999 as Lanz 94 lot 377.


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163. Silver denarius, Rome later part of 81 A.D., Carradice 81.2a, Cohen 58, RIC page 154 note; ex. Barry Murphy
IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT, laureate head right
P P COS VII DES VIII,
Wreath set on curule chair.

Very rare with only a few surviving specimens, of which I can only confirm one in the Curtis Clay coll., struck from the same dies.  Also this reverse die was used for the coin above (no. 160) and for the normal variant of this type struck with a different obverse die with DOMITIANVS. Another interesting feature is the oddly shaped V in AVG, which appears on other dies too and it is the "signature" of perhaps a Greek letter cutter. Read the full article by Christopher Lezak here
. One of the pictured coins is the same mentioned above; it belonged to Mr. Lezak as well.


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162. Silver denarius, Rome later part of 81 A.D., Carradice 81.3b var.
IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M, laureate head right
TR P COS VII DES VIII P P,
Winged thunderbolt set on draped table.

 Rare variant unlisted in the standard references. It appeared for the first time in the Reka Devnia hoard; another specimen belongs to Curtis Clay and RSC quotes another specimen in the Ashmolean Museum (RSC 575a). These coins inscribed DIVI VESP F seem to commemorate the deification of Vespasian two years before.


 

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118. Silver denarius, 18mm,
Rome later part of 81 A.D., Carradice 81.3b, RIC 20, BMC 20, RSC 568
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right
TR P COS VII DES VIII P P, dolphin coiled around anchor


 
158. Silver denarius, 18mm, Rome early 82 A.D., Carradice 82.1, RIC 27, BMC p. 304 *, RSC 595
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate bearded head right
TR POT COS VIII P P, Wreath set on curule chair.

 


 
164. Silver denarius, 18mm,
Rome early 82 A.D., Carradice 82.1, RIC 31, BMC 25, RSC 592
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right
TR POT COS VIII P P, Minerva draped and helmeted, standing left, holding spear and small Victory, shield at feet.



85. Silver denarius, 19mm, 3.6g, Rome 82 A.D., Carradice 82.2, RIC 32, BMC 34, RSC 610

IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate bearded head right
TR POT IMP II COS VIII DES VIIII P P, Fortuna standing left holding rudder and cornucopia.

The first issue of a reform which increased the denarius quality from app. 90-92% Ag and 3.3g to 98% Ag and3.5-3.6g.


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111. Silver denarius, 19mm, 3.5g, 82-83A.D., Carradice 82-83a, RIC 40, BMC 52, RSC 320, same obverse die as Tkalec 2002 lot 148
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laur. head r.
IVPPITER CONSERVATOR, eagle standing right, head left, on thunderbolt.

This reverse type commemorates the events during the civil war of 69 A.D. Upon the arrival of the flavian troops in Italy, Sabinus (the elder brother of Vespasian) was forced to seek refuge in the Capitoline fortress (the sanctuary of Jupiter). He also brought in Domitian, his nephew. Eventually the fortress was set on fire and Sabinus captured and executed. Domitian managed to escape and found shelter at one of his father's clients. Later in that place he built a temple for Jupiter Conservator (= the Protector). Source: Tacitus,  Histories, the 3rd book, section LXXIV : "Domitianus.....ac potiente rerum patre, disiecto aeditui contubernio, modicum sacellum Iovi Conservatori aramque posuit casus suos in marmore expressam).


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145. Silver denarius, 3.52g, 82-83 A.D., Carradice 82-83b, RIC 41, BMC 54, RSC 412;  Ex. Freeman & Sear
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laur.
head r.
SALVS AVGVST, Salus seated left, feet on small pedestal, holding corn-ears.

This is the third reverse type of the reform, and was probably issued along IVVPITER in the first part of 83 A.D.  Salus is represented here not in the common way as goddess of health, but as goddess of prosperity. This might be related to Domitian’s reformatory ideas, one of which actually took form in an edict enforcing grain growth against vine production. Obviously this measure encountered such strong opposition that it was impossible to apply; later Domitian had to revoke the edict.
 


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175. Silver denarius, 19-22mm, 3.5g; same as above


 

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153. Silver denarius, 19mm, 3.5g, Rome 13 September-31 December 83 A.D., Carradice 83.2
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right
TR POT II COS VIIII DES X P P, Minerva 1


Unlisted in the standard references but a few other specimens entered collections to date.


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168. Silver denarius, 3.44g, Rome, 13 Sept.-31 Dec. 83A.D., Carradice 83.2, RIC 37, BMC 43, RSC 604
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right
TR POT II COS VIIII DES X P P, Minerva 3,  Ex. H.D. Rauch

 The only occasion on which I found an obverse die match between coins with different Minerva types - see coin below. Since such links are virtually inexistent, and the style is clearly grouped around each reverse type, Prof. Carradice rightfully assumed that each reverse type was struck in its own separated officina. This seems to be the exception that confirms the rule. It is interesting that their style is very unusual, but they are certainly ancient and made of solid silver. Another detail is related to the bust type which is more of a "right shoulder forward" type instead of the usual simple head.


 

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144. Silver denarius, 3.44g, 18-20mm, Rome, 13 Sept.-31 Dec. 83A.D., Carradice 83.2, RIC 31, BMC p. 307 note, RSC 601
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right
TR POT II COS VIIII DES X P P, Minerva 4 (spear does not seem to have any tip) Ex. CNG

  Same
obverse die as the coin above.


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117. Silver denarius,18mm, Rome, 13 Sept.-31 Dec. 83 A.D., Carradice 83.2, RIC 38, BMC p. 307 note, RSC 601
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right
TR POT II COS VIIII DES X P P, Minerva 4 (spear has tips at both ends)


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176. Silver denarius, 19mm, 84 A.D., RIC 46, Carradice 84.2
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANIC, laur. head right
P M TR POT III IMP V COS X P P, Minerva 2


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125. Silver denarius, 18-19mm, 3.47g, 84 A.D., RIC 47, Carradice 84.2
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANIC, laur. head right with aegis
P M TR POT III IMP V COS X P P, Minerva 3

COS X is the most difficult to find consular date on Domitian's denarii.


 

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170. Silver denarius, 19-20mm, January - April 85 A.D., RIC 57, Carradice 85.1, BMC 75, RSC 368, Ex. Flan
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANIC, laur. head right
P M TR POT IIII IMP VIII COS XI P P, Eagle standing on thunderbolt


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123. Silver denarius,3.38g, 19-22mm, Jan. - April 85 A.D., Carradice 85.1, RIC 56, BMC 72, RSC 362; Ex CNG
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANIC, laur. head right
P M TR POT IIII IMP VIII COS XI P P, Minerva 3


 

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147. Ancient counterfeit denarius,  3.13g

IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII, laur. head r. with aegis
TR POT III CENS P P P, Minerva 2

The obverse of this coin is a technically correct copy of the April 85 A.D. denarii, save for the odd style. The lettering style is exceptionally good. But the reverse is wrong. It displays again a TR P date, and in addition from the previous year (84 A.D.) while the second part consisting in CENS P P P is a form only used from late 85 onwards. This coin originates from the same hoard as no’s 125 and 141 and shares its dies with a coin from the Warren Esty coll.


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157. Silver denarius, April 85 A.D., 19-20mm, Carradice 85.2, RIC -, BMC -, RSC -

IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII, laur. head r. with aegis
IMP VIIII COS XI CENSORIA POTESTAT P P, Minerva 4, ;

These series announce the Censorship assumed by Domitian in April 85 A.D. This office allowed him to remove any member of the Senate on the basis of moral misconduct; however this was used as a powerful political weapon and Domitian assumed it for life later that year. His decision also brought him deep hate from the entire senatorial class, hence today's negative view on this emperor.  Until the recent years only the Germania reverse type was known with these dates but the Minerva types surfaced too. I know about 5 specimens with the Minerva 4 reverse including this one, all from the same dies. There is a 6th specimen struck with different dies, on which the reverse legend is written clockwise and the obverse legend has the TR POT variant instead of the usual TR P.



134. Silver denarius, Rome, app. May 85 A.D., Carradice 85.3, RIC 65, BMC -, RSC 180b
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·IIII·   laureate head right, with aegis
IMP·VIIII·COS·XI·CENS·POTES·P·P·,  Minerva 4
, Ex. Jonathan Kern

Excessevely rare issue and the last to be struck at the reformed standard.
RIC 65 is based on Cohen 176 but the coin does not exist in the Paris collection, according to Ian Carradice. In addition he could not confirm any specimen by the time he wrote his work on Domitian's coinage.

This coin was lost or stolen in the mail ; if you happen to see it please be so kind  and let me know!



169. Silver denarius, Rome, May - 13 Sept. 85 A.D.   RIC 66a (read description below), BMC -; Ex Gorny & Mosch 125, lot 458
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·IIII·  laureate head right with aegis
IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P,  Germania, naked to waist, wearing breeches, seated right on germanic oblong spiral decorated shield, mourning and resting head on left hand, right hand placed on shield at side; broken spear below

 

Extremely rare. RIC 66a is based on the B.M. coll. but not such coin is listed in the BMCRE vol. II later published, except a footnote questioning: "does the rev. legend .... occur with this reverse type?" Hence Ian Carradice omitting it from his thesis written in late '70's.  At this moment I can only confirm the specimen from Leu 83 lot 751 struck from the same dies.



161. Silver denarius, 19-21mm, Rome, immediately after 13 Sept. 85 A.D., Carradice 85.5, RIC 70, BMC p. 317 *, RSC 187
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·V·  laureate head right
IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P,  Minerva 2


 
112. Silver denarius, 19mm,3.55g, Rome, immediately after 13 Sept. 85 A.D., Carradice 85.5, RIC 71, BMC 84, RSC 185 ;
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·V·  laureate head right
IMP·VIIII·COS·XI·CENS·POT·P·P·,  Minerva 4


 
6. Silver denarius,20.5mm, 3.5g, Rome late 85 A.D., RIC-, BMC-, RSC-, Carradice- (85.6)
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·V·  laureate head right
IMP·XI·COS·XI·CENS·P·P·P·, Minerva 2

   IMP number change caused by the victory of Agricola in Britain or perhaps an uncertain victory in Germania. Also, this is the period when the Dacians crossed the frozen Danube and defeated the governor Oppius Sabinus.

   The current references list only two Minerva reverse types for this date: Minerva 1 and Minerva 4. The type in the picture appeared for the first time in the Sacra Moneta-Galata sale from September 1987 - different dies . The coin here is the second known to T.V. Buttrey, Ian Carradice and David Sear. Within this issue the last usual Minerva type (Minerva 3) is yet to be discovered.


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113. Silver denarius, 3.54g, 19mm, Rome early 86 A.D. Carradice 86.1, RIC 73, BMC 88, RSC 194; Ex CNG 60
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·V·  laureate head right
IMP XI COS XII CENS P P P,  Minerva 1


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165. Silver denarius, 21 mm, Rome before September 86 A.D. RIC 80, Carradice 86.2, RSC 204, BMCRE page 319 note, R.D. 1 specimen.
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·V·  laureate head right
IMP·XII·COS·XII· CENS·P·P·P·   Minerva 2


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166. Silver denarius, Rome before September 87 A.D.  Carradice 87.1, RSC -, RIC -, BMCRE later addition, same obverse die as Schulten 1983 lot 228 ( = Kunker 71 lot 792)
IMP·CAES·DOMIT·AVG·GERM·P·M·TR·P·VI·  laureate head left
IMP·XIIII·COS·XIII· CENS·P·P·P·   Minerva 4

 

The finest from only three recorded specimens. From this very rare head left issue, other two coins are known with a Minerva 1 reverse (BMCRE 102 and another seen in trade)


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174. Silver denarius, 20mm, 3.41g, Rome Sept - Dec 87 A.D, RIC - (in error), BMC -, ex. Glenn Woods
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII, laureate head right
IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P, Minerva 2


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152. Ancient counterfeit denarius,19mm, 2.8g, 1 Jan.-late August 88 A.D.; Carradice 88.1
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII
IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva 3; RIC 109,

An ancient counterfeit in amazing good style, except for the reverse letters which are too thin and sharp. The portrait is exceptional.


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119. Silver denarius,19mm, Rome 1 Jan.-late August 88 A.D.; Carradice 88.1, RIC 108a, BMC 117, RSC 236
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII, laureate head right
IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva 2


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151. Silver denarius,3.28g, Rome 1 January-late August 88 A.D., Carradice 88.1, Ex. Harlan J. Berk
 IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMAN P M TR P VII, laureate head right
IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva 1

Scarce variant with GERMAN instead of GERM. Besides the source in Cohen which today cannot be confirmed, I know about only two other specimens in the Curtis Clay and Jyrki Mouna collections. Their fabric points them as being part of the special issue noted below.


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83. Silver denarius,19mm, 3.6g, Rome early 88 A.D.; Carradice 88-89A, RIC 121, BMC 141?, RSC 67
IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERMANICVS, laur. hd. r.
COS XIIII, Minerva 1


   Recently I was able to find close die style matches with three coins of this Minerva type, all dated IMP XIIII COS XIIII (January-August 88): CNG 57 lot 1195
, CNG 58 lot 1163 and Rauch 69 lot 352. It is interesting that they display an aegis portrait, mark of an exceptional series. It is very likely that the coin above and the aegis variants of the regular issue form a special group marking the new consulship or perhaps another important event at the start of 88 A.D.  Also my GERMAN specimen features a very similar portrait style, although it is smaller.

 


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159. Silver denarius, Rome early Sept. 88 A.D., Carradice 88.2, BMC p. 326 note, RSC 242a
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII, laureate head right
IMP XV COS XIIII CENS P P P,  Minerva 4


R
are with these dates.


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142. Silver denarius, Rome late Sept.  88 A.D., Carradice 88-89B1, RIC 130, BMC 146, RSC 243b
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head right
IMP XVI COS XIIII CENS P P P,  Minerva 2; RIC 130,   Ex
WCNC

Very r
are with these dates.


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112. Silver denarius,18mm, 3.55g, Rome October - December 88 A.D.  Carradice 88.3c, RIC 116, BMC 135, RSC 73
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laur. head r.
COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC in five lines on cippus; candelabrum in the middle; Herald wearing feathered cap adv. left, holding wand and round shield decorated with the helmeted bust of Minerva right.

Extensive series issued to commemorate the Secular Games held in 88 A.D.; RIC lists them as "rare" in error.
 


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168. Silver denarius,18mm, 3.46g, Rome October - December 88 A.D.  Carradice 88.3c, RIC 117a, BMC 133 (same obverse die), Ex Barry P. Murphy
IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head left
COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC  Herald wearing feathered cap adv. left, holding wand and round shield decorated with the helmeted bust of Minerva right.

Very rare obverse variant for the series issued to commemorate the Secular Games held in 88 A.D.  Probably just the second know specimen with a counterclockwise legend.



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156. Ancient counterfeit denarius,18mm, after 88 A.D., Carradice 88.3a, RIC 117, BMC 131, RSC 76/77
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P [VIII obliterated or missing], laur. head r.
COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC; Herald wearing feathered cap adv. left, holding wand and round shield decorated with the helmeted bust of Minerva right.


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173. Silver denarius,  October 88 A.D.  ex. CGB
IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head right
IMP XVII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva 3

Unpublished and apparently unique. The IMP XVII issue was struck in paralel with the Saecular Games coins. Special obverse legend coins such as this are closely related to the special variants of the LVD SAEC - see the coin above with DOMITIAN and head left.


 

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172. Silver denarius, 3.38g, 18mm, Rome 89 A.D, RIC 166, RSC 250
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head right
IMP XIX COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva 4


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177. Silver denarius, 3.42g, 18mm, Rome 90-91 A.D, RIC 153, RSC 266, Ex Gorny 114 lot 271 and Antiqua Inc sale X
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P X, laureate head right
IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P, Minerva 2


 


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155. Silver denarius, 17-18mm, 3.33g, Rome 91-92 A.D., Carradice 91-92, RIC 166, BMC 187, RSC 273; Ex. FORVM
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI, laureate bearded head right
IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva 1


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107. Silver denarius, 19mm, 3.37g, Rome 91-92 A.D., Carradice 91-92, RIC 168, BMC 192?, RSC 272
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI, laureate head right,
IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva 3


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124. Silver denarius, 3.43g, Rome 13 Sept. 93-12 Sept. 94 A.D.
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIII
IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva 1; RIC 175, Ex CNG


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120. Silver denarius, 19mm, 3.35g, Rome 13 Sept. 93-12 Sept. 94 A.D.
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIII  laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva 4; RIC 178


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155. Silver denarius, same as above but different dies.


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141. Silver denarius, 3.4g, Rome, 13 Sept. 94 - 31 Dec. 94 A.D.
IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII  laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva 4; RIC 180, BMCRE 221. ex. Silenos

Very scarce issue, types mostly minted were Minerva 1 and 3



84. Silver denarius,18mm, 3.6g, Rome 95 A.D.

IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII, laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P,Minerva 3; RIC 188, RSC 287


 


154. Silver denarius, 19mm, 3.2g, Rome 13 September 95 A.D. - 12 September 96 A.D.

IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV  laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P, Minerva 2
; RIC 191, BMCRE 231, RSC 293

 


 

 
7. Silver denarius, 18mm, 3.3g, Rome shortly before 13 September 96 A.D.

IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV  laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P, Maia wearing winged hat, advancing left holdingcaduceus and dove; RIC 196, RSC 295

  A most interesting coin, with a reverse that belongs to what would have become a major reform. Besides this type, Domitian introduced the "Minerva Victrix", the "altar" reverse and the "Domitian in military dress" reverse which is known from an unique coin. So far Maia was simply noted as "unknown woman", but recently, Prof. T.V. Buttrey properly identified her as Maia, the mother of Hermes, in his article that will appear this year in the Journal of Roman Archeology. From the few recorded specimens (less than ten, all struck with the same reverse die) this is most likely the finest.



178. Silver denarius, 18mm, 3.42g, Rome shortly before 13 September 96 A.D.; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV  laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P, Altar showing two men (soldiers) holding scepters or spears, surmounted by two eagles and two bound captives.
Ex Amphora Coins, same dies as Lanz 38, 1986 lot 646; same obverse die as the ANS specimen of the Maia type.


  Very rare, apparently the 9th recorded specimen.  Judging from the military decorations, we might guess the tomb of a general or an altar dedicated to soldiers died in battle.


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146. Silver denarius,18mm, 3.25g, Rome shortly before 13 September 96 A.D.; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV  laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P, Minerva Victrix flying left, holding shield and spear; RIC 194, RSC 294;  Ex. FORVM

  One of the reformed reverses mentioned above. Unlike the previous type, the coins were struck with more than one reverse die. So far I did not see a die match yet.  It is interesting that most of these were engraved quite hastily in a poor style that perhaps would have been unacceptable in the previous years; perhaps Domitian ordered the reform to be carried out at a fast pace. Still, the specimen here was finelly executed.


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171. Silver denarius, 18mm, 3.60g, Rome 13 - 18 September 96 A.D.;  IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XVI  laureate head right
IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P, Minerva 4;  RIC -, RSC -;  Ex. DooCollect

  Struck in the final week of Domitian's reign. Since he became emperor on 13 September 81 A.D., at the same date he received his first tribunician office which was renewed yearly. He reached TR P XV on 13 September 96, but five days later he was murdered. Of course, not many coins could have been struck in such a short period and much less survived to our time.  The M4 type was not discovered in time for inclusion in Ian Carradice's thesis in late 70's and the coin here appears to be unique.