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Imperial Coins - The Reign of Vespasian


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Vespasian, 69-79 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1. Contemporary issues for different members of the imperial family are listed alongside each other, starting with the ruling emperor.

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)
• Hendin - Guide to Biblical Coins, D. Hendin (New York, 2010)

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

431 files, last one added on Nov 28, 2022
Album viewed 358 times

Imperial Coins - The Reign of Titus


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Titus, 79-81 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1. Contemporary issues for different members of the imperial family are listed alongside each other, starting with the ruling emperor.

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)
• Hendin - Guide to Biblical Coins, D. Hendin (New York, 2010)

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

136 files, last one added on Nov 24, 2022
Album viewed 285 times

Imperial Coins - The Reign of Domitian


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Domitian, 81-96 AD

Imperial coins are arranged according to the new RIC II Part 1. Contemporary issues for different members of the imperial family are listed alongside each other, starting with the ruling emperor.

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)
• Hendin - Guide to Biblical Coins, D. Hendin (New York, 2010)

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

273 files, last one added on Sep 25, 2022
Album viewed 352 times

Provincial Coins - The Flavian Dynasty


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Flavian Dynasty, 69-96 AD

Provincial coins are arranged according to RPC II.

References cited:
• RPC - Roman Provincial Coinage II, A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice (London and Paris, 1999)
• Hendin - Guide to Biblical Coins, D. Hendin (New York, 2010)
• Emmett - Alexandrian Coins, K. Emmett (Lodi, Wisconsin, 2001)
• Dattari-Savio - Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini, A. Savio, ed. (Trieste, 1999)
• Prieur - The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their Fractions from 57 BC to AD 258, M. Prieur & K. Prieur (Lancaster, PA, 2000)

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

149 files, last one added on Oct 25, 2022
Album viewed 102 times

4 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - David Atherton's Gallery
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RIC 0244 VespasianÆ Sestertius, 26.08g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS 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
RIC 244 (C2). BMC 564. BNC 529.
Acquired from CGB.fr, November 2022.

Part of the third sestertius issue of 71 AD, this fairly common reverse type features 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 likely based on a cult image. The massive portrait on the obverse is rendered in fine veristic style. C. H. V. Sutherland in his work Roman Coins commented on the Vespasianic portraits of the era - 'Vespasian's aes, however, and not merely the sestertii, developed a full magnificence of portraiture. Again the heads were large, even massive, and normally in high relief, giving the strong impression of the purely profile view of sculpture in the round. And, because of the larger scale which this aes permitted, a wealth of detail could be achieved: close cut hair, finely wrinkled brow, a minutely rendered profile eye, and all the jowls and neck-folds of an old man. The beauty of this work lay in its realism, strong in authority and yet delicate in execution; and it was in the addition of technical delicacy to strength of conception that Vespasian's coinage clearly excelled over Galba.' I believe this coin to be a fine example of what Sutherland had in mind.
David AthertonNov 28, 2022
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RIC 512 Domitian as Caesar [Titus]Æ Dupondius/As, 12.76g
Eastern mint (Thrace?), 80-81 AD
Obv: CAES DIVI AVG VESP F DOMITIAN COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CERES AVGVST; S C in field; Ceres stg. l., holding corn-ears and torch
RIC 512 (C). BMC spec. acquired 1988. BNC -. RPC 508.
Acquired from Ken Dorney, November 2022.

Late in Titus's reign an unidentified mint struck a series of imperial bronze coins. They can be distinguished from the products of Rome by style (heavily seriffed letters, large portraits, massive reverse figures), fabric (flat or convex flans), and distribution (Balkans). 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. Dupondii and asses shared the same reverse designs for Domitian as Caesar, making it sometimes difficult to distinguish them. This CERES AVGVST specimen's heavy weight, large diameter, and brass composition undoubtedly favours it to be a dupondius.
David AthertonNov 24, 2022
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RIC 0482 Titus as Caesar [Vespasian]Æ Dupondius, 12.09g
Rome mint, 72 AD
Obv: T CAESAR VESPASIAN IMP III PON TR POT II COS II: Head of Titus, radiate, r.
Rev: FELICITAS PVBLICA; S C in field; Felicitas standing l., holding caduceus and cornucopiae
RIC 582 (R2). BMC -. BNC -.
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, October 2022.

All the bronze coinage of Titus Caesar's fourth issue dated IMP III PON TR POT II COS II of 72 are quite rare. This Felicitas variety is cited by RIC in only the Rome and Belgrade collections. Despite its fleeting nature early on, Felicitas later became one of the commonest bronze reverse types of the reign. Here she symbolises the prosperity and abundance Vespasian has brought to the empire.
1 commentsDavid AthertonNov 22, 2022
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RIC 214 TitusÆ As, 10.01g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: AEQVITAS AVGVST; S C in field; Aequitas stg. l., with scales and rod
RIC 214 (C). BMC 203. BNC 206.
Ex Aphrodite Auction 6, 22-24 October 2022, lot 585.

Titus's bronze issue dated COS VIII is quite large due to the fact he did not renew the consulship in 81 and the coins most likely spanned both years. It's not unusual at the start of a reign for the Rome mint to strike coin types that conjure up feelings of familiarity and continuance. Here we see a common Aequitas type which was originally struck under Vespasian, who in turn copied it from Galba. Aequitas likely represents fairness in issuing out the corn dole.
1 commentsDavid AthertonNov 16, 2022
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RIC 1505 VespasianÆ20, 4.07g
Ephesus (?) mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVGVST; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PON MAX TR P P P COS VIII CENS; S C; Victory adv. l., holding wreath and palm
RIC 1505 (R2). BMC -. BNC -. RPC 1476 (2 spec.).
Ex Aphrodite Auction 6, 22-24 October 2022, lot 591.

Late in Vespasian's reign a rare series of orichalcum bronze coins were struck in Asia Minor at an unknown mint. Although imperial in appearance, the style, weight system, and metal used all point to a mint other than Rome. Due to their extreme rarity today, they could not have been struck for any great length of time (the date cannot be narrowed down any further than Vespasian's COS VIII, 77-78 AD). The types consist of ones variously copied from either Rome (such as this Victory type) or local provincial issues. A stylistic similarity with the earlier 'o' mint denarii possibly struck at Ephesus has been noted by both RIC and RPC.

My assumption is that a piece like this did not have wide circulation beyond the region of mintage. Orichalcum was not used for such small bronze denominations at Rome and would have been a baffling coin to your average Roman pleb.
1 commentsDavid AthertonNov 14, 2022
T90A.jpg
RIC 090A TitusAR Denarius, 2.75g
Rome mint, 79-80 AD
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: CERES AVGVST; Ceres stg. l., with corn ears and poppy and sceptre
RIC 90A (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Ex NN London Auction 9, 29 October 2022, lot 329.

The reverse type of Ceres standing is a carry-over from Titus as Caesar under Vespasian. Many of Titus's first reverse types as Augustus were a continuation of those produced for him as Caesar during the last years of Vespasian's reign, probably because the mint needed time to adjusted for a new series. The Ceres reverse is not rare under Vespasian, but is extremely so under Titus as Augustus, being struck for just a few days at the start of the reign. This undated left facing portrait variety of the type with a later obverse legend is unique and previously unpublished. This is either a mule pairing an old reverse die from Titus's first denarius issue with a left facing portrait die from a later issue, or it is an exceedingly rare carry-over type intentionally struck, perhaps for only a few days (hours?). It fits in neatly with a similar unique undated aureus of the type (RIC 90). I contacted RIC II.1 co-author professor Ian Carrdadice about this new discovery and he has confirmed the coin as a new variety for Titus and has assigned it as RIC 90A in the upcoming Addenda & Corrigenda.
1 commentsDavid AthertonNov 08, 2022
V1218.jpg
RIC 1218 Vespasian Æ Dupondius, 12.53g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: FORTVNAE REDVCI; S C in field; Fortuna stg. l., with rudder on globe and cornucopiae
RIC 1218 (R2). BMC 836. BNC -.
Acquired from eBay, October 2022.

A possible shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces late in Vespasian's reign likely prompted the Lugdunum mint to temporarily reopen in 77-78 and strike a fairly substantial issue of coinage. The reverses are standard types copied from Rome. This common Fortuna REDVCI reverse featuring her with a steady hand steering the rudder of the world was a familiar propaganda type both at Rome and Lugdunum that continued to commemorated the safe return of Vespasian and Titus from the East at the beginning of the reign. Most of the dupondii from this issue are seen with a laureate portrait. This specimen is an example of the exceedingly rare radiate right portrait variant. Missing from the Paris collection.
1 commentsDavid AthertonNov 07, 2022
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RIC 0631 Titus as Caesar [Vespasian]Æ As, 8.13g
Rome mint, 73 AD
Obv: T CAES IMP PON TR P COS II CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Altar
RIC 631 (R). BMC -. BNC -.
Ex Savoca Blue 145, 16 October 2022, lot 1306.

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. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon, confining the type to the as issues. Nathan T. Elkins in his Monuments in Miniature wrote the following concerning the type - 'Asses with an altar enclosure labeled PROVIDENT, combine with obverses of Vespasian or his sons, are the emperor's most common architectural type and were produced from c. 71 to 78. The Ara Providentiae, which had appeared before on coins of Tiberius, Galba, and Vitellius, celebrated the emperor's foresight in the designation of his successors. The combination of the reverse type with obverses of one of the two Caesars further underscored the dynastic message.' This PROVIDENT from 73 features the less common left facing portrait of Titus Caesar. Missing from both the BM and Paris collections.
1 commentsDavid AthertonNov 02, 2022
T262.jpg
RIC 262 Domitilla the Elder [Titus]Æ Sestertius, 25.51g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
Obv: MEMORIAE / DOMI/TILLAE; S P Q R in exergue; Carpentum drawn r. by two mules
REV: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; S C, large, in centre
RIC 262 (C). BMC 226. BNC 234.
Acquired from London Ancient Coins, October 2022. Ex Bertolami E-Live Auction 236, 24-25 September 2022, lot 803.

Domitilla the Elder was the wife of Vespasian and mother of Titus and Domitian. She married Vespasian either in 39 or 40 and died prior to him rising to the purple in 69. Titus struck a commemorative issue of sestertii publicly honouring his mother in 80 or 81. S. Wood writes of the type 'The carpentum was a vehicle that marked both the high rank and the sanctity of its passenger. Only Vestal Virgins and women of equivalent status were permitted to use carpenta within the city. Since the Julio-Claudian era, a number of imperial women had been granted the rights of honorary Vestals, despite being wives and mothers. Livia was the first to receive this distinction, followed by Antonia Minor and Caligula's three sisters, while Agrippina the Elder, the mother of Caligula, became a posthumous honorary Vestal as part of Caligula's rehabilitation of her memory.' Wood speculates the funeral games honouring Vespasian may have occasioned the appearance of Domitilla's carpentum both in the funeral procession and on the coinage. Clearly by the Flavian age the carpentum was a well known symbol of honour for women of the imperial household. Titus's use of a nearly 60 year old imperial cult image was quite in keeping with his reissue of older Julio-claudian reverse types.
2 commentsDavid AthertonOct 31, 2022
RPC2803.jpg
RPC 2803 VespasianÆ22, 8.78g
Uncertain mint, Regnal Year 2
Obv: ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤΩΡ ΚΑΙ ΟΥΕϹΑΠϹΙΑΝΟϹ ϹΕ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ΕΤΟΥϹ Β; Nike advancing l., with wreath and palm
RPC 2803 (1 spec.).
Acquired from Savoca Coins, October 2022.

An uncertain mint struck this regnal year 2 coin for Vespasian. The style and fabric suggests a location in Asia Minor. The generic Nike/Victory type is of no assistance for helping to identify the mint. Since RPC II's publication several specimens of the type have surfaced with a clear reading of the coin's date. RPC notes: 'Sydenham attributed this coin to Caesarea, but it does not fit into the bronze issues of the city which normally have the name of the proconsul together with the regnal year of the emperor. The year can now be read as 2.'
1 commentsDavid AthertonOct 25, 2022
V1137~0.jpg
RIC 1137 Vespasian (2)Æ Sestertius, 24.61g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
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
RIC 1137 (R). BMC p. 198 note ‡. BNC 800.
Acquired from Savoca Coins, October 2022.

The Corona Civica 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.
1 commentsDavid AthertonOct 22, 2022
V247best.jpg
RIC 0247 VespasianÆ Sestertius, 25.66g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: S C in field; Mars adv. r., with spear and trophy
RIC 247 (C2). BMC 568. BNC 538.
Acquired from CGB.fr, October 2022. Ex Chaponnière & Firmenich SA, Auction 13, 16 May 2021, lot 296. From the P. J. H. D. collection formed between 1970 and 2000.

Struck during the great bronze issue of 71, this reverse features the standard Mars as a 'heroic nude', similar to the same type struck on the denarius. Mars here can best be interpreted as a triumphal type, likely based on a cult image. The magnificent portrait on the obverse is a superb example of early Vespasianic portraiture. C. H. V. Sutherland in his work Roman Coins commented 'Vespasian's aes, however, and not merely the sestertii, developed a full magnificence of portraiture. Again the heads were large, even massive, and normally in high relief, giving the strong impression of the purely profile view of sculpture in the round. And, because of the larger scale which this aes permitted, a wealth of detail could be achieved: close cut hair, finely wrinkled brow, a minutely rendered profile eye, and all the jowls and neck-folds of an old man. The beauty of this work lay in its realism, strong in authority and yet delicate in execution; and it was in the addition of technical delicacy to strength of conception that Vespasian's coinage clearly excelled over Galba.' And more recently, David Vagi in Coinage and the History of the Roman Empire said 'Most numismatists agree that the height of Roman coin portraiture occurred in the 1st Century A.D., when the "Twelve Caesars" chronicled by Suetonius ruled Rome. Many would also agree that the absolute peak occurred from 60 to 75, beginning with the last issues of Nero, encompassing the Civil War of 68-69 and ending with the early issues of the Flavians.' High praise indeed from two imminent scholars for the engravers working at the Rome mint under Vespasian. This coin, I think, exemplifies the fine style which they passionately praise. It's certainly one of the finest portraits of Vespasian I've come across.
3 commentsDavid AthertonOct 19, 2022

Random files - David Atherton's Gallery
D230.jpg
RIC 230 Domitian Æ As, 9.63g
Rome mint, 84 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS X; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: S C in field; Victory adv. r., holding aquila with both hands
RIC 230 (R). BMC -. BNC -.
Acquired from CGB.fr, May 2022.

The Victory holding aquila reverse was fleetingly struck for Domitian in 84 and 85 amidst the flurry of Germania Capta types, which it is undoubtedly a part of. Of note, the COS X issues are the first appearance of the Domitian's new title of Germanicus (GERM), awarded for his recent triumph over the Chatti. This rare variant of the type with an abbreviated obverse legend is missing from both the BM and Paris, RIC cites only one specimen in Glasgow.
1 commentsDavid Atherton
titus as caesar eagle l. and base.jpg
RIC 0872 Titus as Caesar [Vespasian]AR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome Mint, 76 AD
Obv: T CAESAR IMP VESPASIANVS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS V across field; Eagle head l. standing on thunderbolt, on Altar. Very uncommon with thunderbolt showing.
RIC 872 (C). BMC 192. RSC 60. BNC 168.
Acquired from Incitatus Coins April 2008.

I'm not quite certain what the meaning is behind the reverse (Vespasian also issued the type). The BMCRE hints that it might be a reference to the death of Mucianus which occurred around 76 AD. Mucianus was the governor of Syria who helped Vespasian rise to the purple. The interpretation here would be the eagle as a symbol of the after-life.
I've always had my doubts about Mattingly's reading of this reverse type.
the eagle when depicted on a funeral pyre or altar would represent an apotheosis type. Here there is no such pyre or altar. The eagle sits upon a garlanded base, clutching a thunderbolt (missing here), with no legend referring to the eagle specifically. The following are the three main symbolic meanings of the eagle in the Roman world: as an attribute of Jupiter, a symbol of the Roman legions, a funerary type. In the case of the above coin, my guess would be the eagle is in the guise of Jupiter since a thunderbolt is clutched. Variant version missing the thunderbolt.
2 commentsDavid Atherton
V448.jpg
RIC 0448 Titus as Caesar [Vespasian]Æ As, 9.94g
Rome mint, 72 AD
Obv: T CAES VESPASIAN IMP P TR P COS II; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Altar
RIC 448 (R). BMC 692A. BNC 634.
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, November 2020.

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. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon, confining the type to the as issues. Nathan T. Elkins in his Monuments in Miniature wrote the following concerning the type - 'Asses with an altar enclosure labeled PROVIDENT, combine with obverses of Vespasian or his sons, are the emperor's most common architectural type and were produced from c. 71 to 78. The Ara Providentiae, which had appeared before on coins of Tiberius, Galba, and Vitellius, celebrated the emperor's foresight in the designation of his successors. The combination of the reverse type with obverses of one of the two Caesars further underscored the dynastic message.' This rare PROVIDENT from 72 is the first instance of the type struck for Titus Caesar.

Oddly, the coin has a 12 o'clock die axis, unusual for Rome at this time.
3 commentsDavid Atherton

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