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Coins of Domitian


Thanks to David Atherton for suggesting that I create separate galleries for my Flavian coins. When I only had a few it did not matter as much. However, now that I have a significant number of Domitian denarii, I think it was time. David also made the point that I have many coins of Domitian that others do not have and that some people may want to find a specific coin more easily. I hope that this gallery serves that purpose. Comments on individual coins are always welcome and if you have any questions about my coins please do not hesitate to send me a pm.

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Coins of Vespasian


9 files, last one added on Apr 13, 2021
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Coins of Titus


1 files, last one added on Sep 20, 2021
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Sold Coins


75 files, last one added on Aug 02, 2021
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5 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - orfew's Gallery
RIC 0075Domitian AR Denarius (81 CE) (Group 4)
( 3.05g)
Rev: Tripod with fillets, Dolphin above; TR P COS VII DES VIII PP
RIC 75 (R2) BMC Note p. 302 RSC 568d
Purchased from Holger Siee on MA Shops

You might be doing a double take at the moment. You are not seeing things, I really do have 2 of these. I have never seen one of these from a different obverse die. All examples I know of use the same obverse die. Left facing denarii for Domitian are so rare that I will never turn down an opportunity to add one to my collection. I have several other left facing types and I am always on the lookout for more. I am not the only one. I believe there are more collectors looking for one of these than those that have one. Thanks for loomkoinog at my gallery.
1 commentsorfewJan 06, 2022
RIC 0060Domitian AR Denarius
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT, Kopf mit Lorbeerkranz n. r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P, Minerva steht mit Schild, Lanze und Victoriola n. l.
RIC 60
Purchased from Kolner Munzcabinet
1 commentsorfewDec 30, 2021
RPC 1655CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea-Eusebia. Titus as Caesar
76-77 CE. AR Drachm
(16mm 3.3g)
Rev: Nike advancing r., wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
RPC 1655
NBS Web Auction 8, August 7 2021, Lot 407.

This nice little drachm was misattributed by the seller as a coin of Domitian. It is is Titus instead and I really like this cool little coin. RPC online shows 4 examples. Definitely not a common coin.

I was struck by the artistic style of the portrait. I think it is a very interesting and sensitive portrait of Titus. I also like the reverse featuring Nike.
orfewSep 20, 2021
RIC 0665Domitian (81-96 CE). AR Denarius Struck 88-89 CE (Third Issue)
Obv: Head laureate right; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM TR P VIII
Rev: Minerva standing left with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her side; IMP XVIII COS XIIII CENS P PP
RIC 665; BMC pg 331 *, RSC 247b
Purchased from Ebay August 2021

The denarii of the third issue for 88-89 CE are all rare coins. There are four denarii in the issue, one for each of the four standard Minerva reverse types. This is the second denarius from this issue that I have encountered in more than 5 years.

It so happens that I also own RIC 666. This gives me 2/4 types. It might take years for me to find the other 2 denarii. I think the coin is much better than the NGC grade indicates. I actually quite like the portrait.

I am very happy to add one of these to my collection.
1 commentsorfewSep 01, 2021
EGYPT. Alexandria. Domitian, 81-96. Diobol
(25 mm, 7.42 g, 11 h),
Obv: RY 10 = 90/1. [ΑΥΤ] ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΔΟΜΙΤ [ϹЄΒ ΓЄΡΜ] Laureate head of Domitian to right, with aegis on his left shoulder.
Rev: L I Agathodaemon serpent riding horse to right.
Dattari (Savio) 563. Emmett 276.10. K&G 24.110. RPC II 2584A.
Extremely rare. Somewhat porous and with light deposits, otherwise, good fine.
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
Leu Numismatic Web auction 17 Lot 2103 Sunday August 15, 2021

I was first made aware of this coin a few years ago. Ever since, I have trying to grab one when they come up at auctions. The problem is 2-fold. First, it is a rare type. If the attribution of RPC 2854A is correct, it is even rarer than RPC 2854 which is on its own a rare coin. RPC online has my coin as RPC 2854 but I am not sure they are correct. The presence or absence of Aegis on the bust seems to be the key factor in differentiating these types.

I have found that I am attracted to the Alexandrian bronzes struck for Domitian. So many of the Egyptian themed coins are interesting and are a real departure from the reverses of the imperial coinage from the same time period.

Rarity aside it is the reverse of this coin that really shines. A coin that depicts a snake riding a horse? Yes, I will take one of those please. The reverse is so interesting that there is more demand for this type than the current supply. I consider myself lucky to add this fascinating type to my collection.

From the auction description: “According to Emmett, the reverse of this interesting issue is connected to the grain harvest. The horse represents the continuous cycle of the seasons, while Agathodaemon ensures that the grain will sprout, thus ensuring Egypt's prosperity.”

4 commentsorfewAug 23, 2021
RIC 0271 (Titus)Domitian as Caesar 80 CE
Obv: Head laureate right; CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII
Rev: Corinthian helmet on draped throne; PRINCEPS IVVENTUTIS
RIC: 271 [Titus]; BMC 98; RSC 399a
Purchased from Harlan Berk HJB Fixed Price list 4

While there are many rare coins of Domitian in my gallery, and I have made that a central focus of my collection, this is a very common coin. My excuse is that I love the reverse image with the Corinthian helmet.

My other excuse is the great-looking portrait of Domitian. I have many interesting portraits in my collection but this one spoke to me. I think the wonderful gray toning was at least partially responsible as well.
1 commentsorfewAug 15, 2021
RIC 0863 (Vespasian)Titus as Caesar (69-79) AR denarius, issued 76. Rome, 3.28g, 19mm.
Obv: T CAESAR IMP VESPASIAN; laureate head right
Rev: IOVIS CVSTOS; Jupiter standing left, holding scepter and patera, altar at feet left.
RIC 863(R2); BMCRE -; RSC 166.
From the Severus Alexander collection, acquired from Gitbud & Naumann on VCoins in 2013.
Rare; only 4 on acsearch.
AMCC #3 Lot 198 July 25, 2021

It so happens that I already have one of these. This one is, I believe, a significant upgrade. RIC 849 has Vespasianus in the obverse legend. This is a very common coin. However, this example (RIC 863) uses Vespasian in the legend. That simple change is the difference between a very common coin and a very rare coin. This is a very difficult type to find if you are looking for one.
1 commentsorfewAug 02, 2021
RIC 0957 (Vespasian)Domitian as Caesar AR Denarius. Rome 77-78 CE
Obv: Laureate head right; CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS
Rev: Horseman galloping right; COS V in exergue
RIC 957 (Vespasian); BMC 234 (Vespasian); RSC 49
Purchased from Soler y Llach. Subasta Numismatica, Collecion Scipio, Primera Parte June 30, 2021 Lot 518.

As a general rule I have been trying to grab the rare Domitian denarii before getting the easier and more common issues. However, as soon as I saw this one I thought it was very special. While it also has a great reverse image, it is the portrait that shines on this coin. So many of the portraits for Domitian as Caesar are strange, non-artistic, or just plain ugly. This one is exceptional. Many denarii of Domitian appear to be beardless because of normal wear. On this coin, the beard can be seen under the chin.

While I am used to seeing amazing portraiture of Domitian between the years 84-88 CE, so many of these earlier denarii are are best unattractive, and at worst are extremely ugly. The expressive portrait on my coin shows the hand of a very talented engraver. I would very much like to pick up more pieces by this artist. Even the reverse shows evidence of true artistic talent. This image is so often pedestrian on this type. However, here, the figure and horse show much energy and vitality.

I have many excellent portraits of Domitian, but I believe that this one will be a favourite for many years to come.While the denarii of 85-88 are beautiful they also show a sanitized image of the emperor. However, on this coin looks like a real human character. Even the typical Flavian nose is rendered here as an asset and not a detriment. Now that takes a very skilled engraver indeed.
2 commentsorfewJul 29, 2021
RIC 0005Titus AR Denarius. Rome. 79 CE after July 1.
(18mm 3.19g)
Obv: Head laureate right; IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG PM
Rev: Capricorn left, globe below; TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII
RIC 5; BMC P. 224 note; RSC 280a
Purchased from CGB ( July 1, 2021

The rarity ratings from RIC (2007) are not always accurate. This coin is an example of that. While rated as common, this one was the first I had seen for 5 years! Needless to say I bought it as soon as I saw it.

The Capricorn on the reverse was also used by Vespasian and was on the Titus as Caesar issues struck by Vespasian. The Capricorn was used by Augustus on his denarii decades earlier. Vespasian and Titus both used throwback reverses on their coinage. These homages to earlier issues served a propagandistic purpose. These coins connected the rule of the Flavian emperors to the glory days of Rome as represented by the reign of Augustus. In essence, the message was "Happy days are here again". In the case of this particular reverse, the Flavians knew that Augusutus was a very popular ruler, and they want that association.

What makes this coin both early and rare is the use of COS VII instead of the later and more common COS VII PP. In fact, this coin is the only denarius rated as common in the first 2 groups presented in RIC. If you want one of these watch out for dealer attribution errors. I have seen these early denarii misattributed as COS VII PP when the actual legend was COS VII. These coins are difficult to find with complete reverse legends.

The other reasons I wanted the coin include the excellent portrait of Titus looking very much like his father, and Capricorn reverse are just very cool and interesting.
1 commentsorfewJul 29, 2021
RIC 0845Domitian, with Domitia (81-96).
AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm of uncertain mint (Ephesos or possibly struck in Rome for export and usage in Asia).
(10.5 g)
Obv: Laureate bust of Domitian right; IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PM COS VIII
Rev: Draped bust of Domitia right; DOMITIA AVGVSTA
RIC 845; RPC II 866; RSC 2.
Spink USA 370 - The Numismatic Collector's Series e-Auction Lot 18 July 14, 2021

This is my first coin that includes Domitian's wife Domitia. Sources such as Suetonius implicate Domitia in the assassination of her husband. One must remember that Suetonius was trading in gossip for some of his assertions. The hatred of the senate towards Domitian was well knownI am glad that I was able to own one at all. and I would not have put it past these individuals to have attempted the virtual assassination of Domitian after his death. Hated is one thing but hated so much that you wife kills you? Well that is something else entirely.

As for this coin, it is obviously a well worn example. That is okay by me. The fact that the condition is below par allowed me to purchase it. In better condition, Cistohophori such as this demand very high prices. Still I think there are positive points that should be mentioned. First it is a nice substantial hunk of silver. I also like the portrait of Domitian. The style is quite nice and I like that his full name is spelled out. Of course, another reason I like the coin is that I now have a coin of Domitia! She is an important character in the life of Domitian and should be referenced in any collection focussed on Domitian.
2 commentsorfewJul 28, 2021
RIC 0605Domitian AR Denarius 88 CE September 14-December 31(Third Issue)
Obv: Head laureate left; IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM
Rev: COS XIIII across field; Column inscribed LVD SAEC FEC; All within laurel wreath
RIC 605 (R3)
Purchased from Dr. Busso Peus Nach April 16, 2021

I never thought that I would own one of these. All left-facing portraits of Domitian are very rare to extremely rare on his denarii. This is now my fourth left-facing denarius for Domitian and this is the most important one I have acquired. In fact, this may be the most important coin in my collection.

This coin is desirable because it is a secular games denarius. Though some of these are available to the collector on a fairly consistent basis, some from this series are incredibly rare. However, rarity aside, all of the secular games denarii are very much sought after. When they appear they are usually snapped up very quickly indeed. One reason for this is that the denarii of Domitian are dominated by the 4 Minerva reverses. Though I love those coins too, because of some hidden treasures in the midst of some extremely common issues, many collectors feel differently. In fact, I understand while many would call Domitian denarii boring. However, this new acquisition is anything but boring.

First, just look at the portrait. Domitian denarii struck between 84-88 are known for some amazing portraits executed by very talented engravers. In fact, within my collection, I have examples from the same engraver on different denarii! The style of this one is so superb and distinctive that I should be able to match this coin to other examples of the engraver's work. Given the rarity of this coin, it is no surprise that my coin is a double-die match to the RIC plate coin. The plate coin is held by the ANS in New York City. Just how rare is the coin? RIC lists it as R3 which means that one example was known to the authors of RIC (2007) at the time of publication. That has 2 implications. First, it means that mine is the second one known and secondly, it means that my coin is the only one known in private hands. That means that I have the responsibility of keeping this coin secure until it passes to the next owner. I am just a temporary guardian for this coin struck almost 2000 years ago.

It may be said that perhaps as a coin of Domitian it is not so important. Domitian's coinage is not avidly pursued like the coins of more famous figures such as Nero, Augustus, Julius Caesar, Brutus, and others. However, I would argue it is an important coin because it marks the secular games; a known historical event. Of course, Domitian is also important as the last member of the Flavian family of emperors. The Flavian era brought stability after the disastrous year of the four emperors. Domitian's father Vespasian would initiate the building of the Flavian Amphitheatre, known today as the colosseum. Domitian's brother Titus finished the construction after the death of Vespasian. I would therefore say that this coin is an artifact of a very interesting historical period and as such is historically interesting.

No one knows why these left-facing portraits are so rare on Domitian's denarii. Left-facing portraits appear regularly on the bronze issues of Domitian. Also, left-facing portraits of Titus and his father Vespasian do appear on their denarii. While true that some of these are rare to very rare, many are not. In fact, some are very common indeed.

I like these unsolved mysteries associated with ancient coins. While it might someday be discovered why Domitian's denarii include so few left-facing portraits, it may also remain unknown for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I find myself thrilled to be the temporary custodian of this piece. I am also going to keep my eyes open for other left-facing denarii of Domitian that become available.
4 commentsorfewMay 12, 2021
RIC 0393Domitian AR Denarius 88 CE (Sixth issue)
Obv: Laureate head right; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P IIII
Rev: Minerva standing left with spear; IMP XI COS XI CENS PP P
RIC 393; BMC 87; RSC 189
Ex: Calgary coin
Ex: Savuto collection

This coin is the first from the sixth issue of 85 CE that I have seen available in the last several years. Rarity aside, this coin is very special because of the amazing portrait. It is generally accepted that the best portraits on Domitian’s denarii were struck between 84-88 CE. This one is certainly no exception. I would have to check but I do not remember seeing another portrait on these denarii by this engraver. I do have examples of Domitian denarii that were executed by the same engraver.

I will pick up the denarii from 85 CE whenever I can. However, before you go looking for one I would caution that a friend was looking for one for 1.5 years before he was able to purchase one. First, they are rare coins. Secondly, the quality of the portraits ranges from very good to amazing. Also, collectors of Domitian’s denarii are always looking for coins from this year of issue. Therefore, when these coins appear there is sometimes quite a bit of competition for them. Even those who do not specialize in Domitian may want one because of the excellent portraits.

This is my first Domitian denarius from the sixth issue. I hope to add the others someday, but it might take a while to find another. Thanks go to my friend Jay for agreeing to part with this coin so I could make it a part of my collection.
3 commentsorfewMay 07, 2021

Random files - orfew's Gallery
RPC 1655CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea-Eusebia. Titus as Caesar
76-77 CE. AR Drachm
(16mm 3.3g)
Rev: Nike advancing r., wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
RPC 1655
NBS Web Auction 8, August 7 2021, Lot 407.

This nice little drachm was misattributed by the seller as a coin of Domitian. It is is Titus instead and I really like this cool little coin. RPC online shows 4 examples. Definitely not a common coin.

I was struck by the artistic style of the portrait. I think it is a very interesting and sensitive portrait of Titus. I also like the reverse featuring Nike.
Augustus RPC 4142SELEUCIS and PIERIA, Antioch. Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. AR Tetradrachm
(27mm, 14.56 g, 12h). In the name and types of the Seleucid king Philip I Philadelphus. Dated year 26 of the Caesarean Era (24/23 BC).
Obv: Diademed head of Philip I right within fillet border
Rev: Zeus Nicephorus seated left; monogram to inner left and below throne, ςK (date) and thunderbolt in exergue; all within wreath.
Prieur 19; McAlee 19 (this coin illustrated); RPC I 4142; SC 2491.16; HGC 9, 1360p. Toned, some porosity and surface striations. Fine. Rare, seven known to Prieur, and two in CoinArchives.
From the Michel Prieur Collection, purchased privately from Richard McAlee.
CNG E-Auction 451 Lot 272 September 4, 2019
2 commentsorfew
RIC 0034Domitian AR Denarius, 81 CE (Group 3)
Rome mint, 81 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt
RIC 34 (R3). BMC -. RSC -
Ex: Harry N. Sneh Collection.
Ex: David Atherton Collection

This very rare denarius of Domitian was struck in 81 CE, Domitian's first year as Augustus. Just how rare is this coin? It is marked as R3- one example known to Carradice and Buttrey, the authors of RIC II part 1 (2007). This coin appears to be a double die match for the RIC plate coin. This is hardly surprising. It would have been surprising if this coin had different dies which would have suggested a larger mintage. This coin appears to be the second one known of its type.

It is also not surprising that this coin is a PONT denarius. Many of the rarest issues in 81 CE are PONT denarii. These coins are particularly prized by collectors because of their rarity and because they are interesting. It is surmised that the use of PONT in the obverse legend was used before Domitian officially took the title of PM or Pontifex Maximus. In fact PM is used in many of the obverse legends in the 4 groups of denarii struck for Domitian in 81 CE.

There is another reason that I am thrilled to have this coin-the provenance. This coin was part of the collection of Harry Sneh. Mr. Sneh was a well known collector who had collected many interesting Flavian coins. After his passing, the coins were distributed in auctions. Mr. Sneh had a great eye for coins and I would love to have more from his collection. In fact, when I acquired this coin it came with another PONT denarius that was also once the property of Harry Sneh.

This will take an important place in my coins of Domitian collection.
1 commentsorfew

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