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Last additions - David Atherton
D383a.jpg
Domitian RIC-38327 viewsÆ As, 9.49g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 383 (C3). BMC -. BNC 374.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: MONETA AVGVST; S C in field; Moneta stg. l., with scales and cornucopiae
Acquired from Musa Numismatic, September 2019.

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

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

A nice example in hand, much better than the photo suggests.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 20, 2019
V635.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 63525 viewsÆ As, 10.08g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 635 (R). BMC -. BNC 688.
Obv: T CAES IMP PON TR P COS II CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in exergue; Titus stg. r., with branch and sceptre, in quadriga r.
Acquired from Marc Breitsprecher, September 2019.

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

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

Worn, but the major devices are still quite visible.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 19, 2019
T248.jpg
Titus RIC-24841 viewsÆ As, 10.39g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 248 (C). BMC 217. BNC 222.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
Acquired from eBay, September 2019.

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

Very attractively toned with a pleasing portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonSep 14, 2019
V243.jpg
Vespasian RIC-24317 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.77g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 243 (C3). BMC 555. BNC 516.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVSTI; S C in field; Pax stg. l., with branch and cornucopiae
Acquired from Wallinmynt, September 2019.

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

A strong veristic portrait in good metal.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 12, 2019
V669a.jpg
01 Domitian as Caesar RIC 66921 viewsÆ As, 11.05g
Rome mint, 73-74 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 669 (C). BMC -. BNC 699.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIAN COS II; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., leaning on column, with caduceus and branch
Acquired from Musa Numismatics, August 2019.

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

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

Fine style early portrait.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 07, 2019
D709a.jpg
Domitian RIC-70924 viewsÆ As, 10.61g
Rome mint, 90-91 AD
RIC 709 (C2). BMC 452. BNC 482.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XV CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VIRTVTI AVGVSTI; S C in field; Virtus stg. r., foot on helmet, with spear and parazonium
Acquired from Prafectus Coins, August 2019.

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

A superb example in fine style.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 05, 2019
RPC1672.jpg
RPC-1672-Domitian38 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.47g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 93-94 AD
RPC 1672 (17 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAI ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOC ΓЄPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTO ΙΓ; Mt Argaeus; on summit, radiate figure standing l., globe in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, August 2019.

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

In good style and well centred.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 29, 2019
D397sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-39739 viewsÆ Sestertius, 26.19g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 397 (R2). BMC 361. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM XI CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: GERMANIA CAPTA; S C in exergue; Trophy; to r., German captive stg. r., hands bound, head l.; to l., Germania std. l.; around arms
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, August 2019.

In 85 Domitian struck a fairly impressive issue of sestertii, M. Grant hyperbolically called it the most 'ambitious' of any one reign or year. The series is the first major aes issue of Domitian's reign and is dominated by panoramic types commemorating his military victory over the Germanic tribe the Chatti. The details of the war are unclear, but the overall impression is that the conflict was a minor affair blown out of proportion by an emperor eager for military glory. Consequently, Domitian's Germanic triumph of 83 received a certain amount of ridicule from ancient writers who thought the whole thing was a sham (Dio goes so far as to say Domitian raided the palace's furniture stores for his fake spoils!), no doubt the numismatic propaganda for the victory was likely viewed in the same manner by contemporary senatorial elites. Germania Capta types were first struck in silver in 84 and in bronze in 85. This iconic Germania Capta sestertius strongly echoes Vespasian's Judaea Capta types - but instead of a trophy we see a palm tree and a bound captive replaces the triumphal emperor. H. Mattingly writes in BMCRE 'the type is closely modelled on the Judaea Capta of Vespasian, but the German element is indicated by the heavy angular cloak worn by the man and by the oblong shields.' Comparing the two triumphs, the Josephian scholar Steve Mason remarked - 'The same people who produced Flavian Triumph I: Judaea were on hand for Flavian Triumph II: Germania, and sequels are rarely as good as the originals.'

The Germania Capta sestertii were produced for only a few short years between 85-88. The present example from the third issue of 85 is a rare variant with an obverse legend struck just after Domitian had become censor for life (CENS PER).
3 commentsDavid AthertonAug 25, 2019
D385a.jpg
Domitian RIC-38534 viewsÆ As, 10.60g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 385 (C2). BMC 358. BNC 379.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: SALVTI above, AVGVSTI below; S C in field; Altar
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, August 2019.

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

This As with its aegis, large flan (30mm), and elegant idealised style are all hallmarks of the new direction introduced after the Senatorial mint's overhaul.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 19, 2019
V1426(5A)3.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1426(5A)342 viewsAR Denarius, 3.25g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD
RIC 1426(5A)3 (R3). BMC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI ORB TERR AVG; Turreted and draped female bust, r.; no mintmark
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, May 2019.

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

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

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

Struck in high relief with the reverse slightly off centred.

NB: This coin shares a reverse die with my Titus Caesar example of the type.
5 commentsDavid AthertonAug 15, 2019
D367.jpg
Domitian RIC-36759 viewsÆ Dupondius, 11.64g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 367 (C). BMC 347. BNC 364.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, radiate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: ANNONA AVG; S C in exergue; Annona, std r., holding open on lap by two ends bag full of corn-ears; in front of her stands a small figure, l., also holding two ends of bag, and in the background, stern of ship
Ex eBay, August 2019.

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

Flatly struck on one side, but in fine style.
7 commentsDavid AthertonAug 10, 2019
D833.jpg
Domitian RIC-83353 viewsÆ Dupondius, 12.14g
Eastern Mint (Thrace?), 81 AD
RIC 833 (R). BMC 513. RPC 528. BNC 549.
Obv: IMP D CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VII; Head of Domitian, radiate, bearded, r.
Rev: ROMA; S C in exergue; Roma std. l. on cuirass, with wreath and parazonium
Ex eBay, July 2019.

An unidentified Eastern mint struck aes coinage for Titus between 80-81 and then for Domitian in 81-82. The style (heavily seriffed letters, large portraits, and massive reverse figures), unique obverse legends, and uncommon fabric (flat, almost 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 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 issues consisted of sestertii, dupondii, asses, and semisses which copied types struck at Rome.

Production at this Eastern mint continued uninterrupted between Titus' and Domitian's reigns, hinted at by Domitian's seamless adoption of Titus' types and legend formula after his accession - exemplified by the minor substitution of a 'D' for a 'T' in the obverse legend of this dupondius. Roma is the only reverse type struck on the dupondius for both issues. The coinage struck under Domitian at this mint is quite rare, owing to the short time frame in which it was produced. After its closure in early 82, the striking of imperial coinage would be consolidated at Rome for the remainder of Domitian's reign.

Handsome dark patina and honest wear.
3 commentsDavid AthertonAug 09, 2019
V336a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-33633 viewsÆ As, 11.55g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 336 (C). BMC 616. BNC 595.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA NAVALIS; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
Acquired from J. Diller Münzenhandlung, July 2019.

A common VICTORIA NAVALAIS As struck during Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71. Traditionally, this type has been attributed to the naval victory Vespasian and Titus won on Lake Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee) during the Jewish War. By any definition it is a most bizarre 'naval' battle indeed. Near the close of the Galilean campaign, Vespasian and Titus marched to Lake Gennesaret in order to secure the cities along its coastline. Tiberias fell without much resistance, but the neighbouring city of Taricheae was a tougher nut to crack. Home to many of the Jewish rebels who had fled Tiberias, they put up a small fight on the plain outside the city and were quickly defeated by Titus' troops who then stormed the city and began slaughtering the inhabitants. Many of the rebels took flight to waiting boats they had previously commandeered on the lake. These were likely local fishing or ferry vessels not intended for use in war. Vespasian ordered the legionaries to construct large rafts in order to pursue the rebel's makeshift flotilla. With the coastline guarded by Roman horsemen the legionaries launched their rafts and sailed out in a large line toward the enemy. The Jewish boats were no match for the heavily armoured Roman rafts. The legionaries easily picked off the Jewish rebels who had no means of escape. The slaughter was intense, so much so that Josephus claims 6,500 Jews were killed. Several years later during Vespasian and Titus' Jewish War Triumph in Rome, ships were displayed to commemorate the battle. Were the Victoria Navalis coins struck with the same event in mind? As unlikely as it seems, the impromptu 'naval' battle at Lake Gennesaret is the best candidate for Vespasian striking this Actium-lite reverse type. The connection to Augustus would not have been lost on his contemporaries. Flavian propaganda at its most exaggerated.

Well centred with dark olive green patina.
2 commentsDavid AthertonAug 07, 2019
V644a.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 64452 viewsÆ As, 10.31g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 644 (R). BMC 677. BNC 691.
Obv: T CAES IMP PON TR P COS II CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VICTORIA NAVALIS; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
Acquired from Praefetus Coins, July 2019.

A fairly scarce variant of the Victoria Navalis type, struck in 73 when Titus held the joint censorship with Vespasian. The type would be repeatedly struck throughout Vespasian's reign for both father and son, perhaps indicating how important it was to their military gravitas. Traditionally, it has been attributed to the naval victory Vespasian and Titus won on Lake Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee) during the Jewish War. By any definition it is a most bizarre 'naval' battle indeed. Near the close of the Galilean campaign, Vespasian and Titus marched to Lake Gennesaret in order to secure the cities along its coastline. Tiberias fell without much resistance, but the neighbouring city of Taricheae was a tougher nut to crack. Home to many of the Jewish rebels who had fled Tiberias, they put up a small fight on the plain outside the city and were quickly defeated by Titus' troops who then stormed the city and began slaughtering the inhabitants. Many of the rebels took flight to waiting boats they had previously commandeered on the lake. These were likely local fishing or ferry vessels not intended for use in war. Vespasian ordered the legionaries to construct large rafts in order to pursue the rebel's makeshift flotilla. With the coastline guarded by Roman horsemen the legionaries launched their rafts and sailed out in a large line toward the enemy. The Jewish boats were no match for the heavily armoured Roman rafts. The legionaries easily picked off the Jewish rebels who had no means of escape. The slaughter was intense, so much so that Josephus claims 6,500 Jews were killed. Several years later during Vespasian and Titus' Jewish War Triumph in Rome, ships were displayed to commemorate the battle. Were the Victoria Navalis coins struck with the same event in mind? As unlikely as it seems, the impromptu 'naval' battle at Lake Gennesaret is the best candidate for Vespasian striking this Actium-lite reverse type. The connection to Augustus would not have been lost on his contemporaries. Flavian propaganda at its most exaggerated.

Dark golden brown patina with a fine reverse.

3 commentsDavid AthertonAug 05, 2019
D707.jpg
Domitian RIC-70756 viewsÆ As, 9.32g
Rome mint, 90-91 AD
RIC 707 (C). BMC 448. BNC 480.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XV CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: FORTVNAE AVGVSTI; S C in field; Fortuna stg. l., with rudder and cornucopiae
Acquired from eBay, July 2019.

This common Fortuna type was repeatedly struck throughout Domitian's reign on his middle bronze. She also fleetingly showed up on the denarius in 82. Mattingly calls this Fortuna 'the special Fortuna that watches over the imperial office'. Suetonius writes that near the end of Domitian's reign on 1 January 96 'The Fortuna of Praeneste, which throughout the whole time he was emperor had habitually given him a happy and virtually the same answer to him whenever he entrusted the new year to her care, finally gave a most gloomy answer - and not without the mention of blood.'

Good middle period style and nicely centred.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJul 29, 2019
RPC2721.jpg
RPC-2721-Domitian45 viewsÆ Drachm, 19.56g
Alexandria mint, 95-96 AD
RPC 2721 (11 spec.)
Obv: AVT KAI C ΘEOY YIOC ∆OMIT CEB ΓEPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: No legend; Emperor in quadriga of elephants r., holding branch of laurel and sceptre; upon elephant's heads Nike r., holding wreath and palm; date LIE in exergue
Ex Forvm Ancient Coins, July 2019.

The Alexandrian mint under Domitian around regnal year 10 or 11 experienced a 'dramatic improvement in style' and the 'adoption of a wide range of new types' (Milne). One of those new types was the flamboyant scene of Domitian in a quadriga drawn by four elephants struck for the drachm. This type is unique to Alexandria and does not show up elsewhere in the Flavian numismatic canon. However, the Arch of Titus once supported a bronze sculpture depicting such a scene and the Arch of Domitian described by Martial had two elephant quadrigae. Pompey the Great was the first Roman to employ an elephant quadriga in his triumph of 61 BC. The elephants were too big to fit through one of the gates leading up to the Capitol and they had to be switched out with a team of horses. The ancient authors thought it 'a piquant warning of the dangers of divine self-aggrandizement.' (M. Beard). Yet, by the Flavian era the elephant quadriga was seen as a powerful symbol of triumphal glory - although, there is no evidence that Domitian ever rode in an elephant quadriga in any of his triumphs. After Hadrian's reign, the elephant quadriga on the coinage was soley the realm of the imperial Divi and not the living emperor.

A beautiful coin in hand with a magnificent reverse!
6 commentsDavid AthertonJul 24, 2019
V282.jpg
Vespasian RIC-28242 viewsÆ Dupondius, 14.36g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 282 (R2). BMC 596. BNC 572.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.
Rev: TVTELA AVGVSTI; S C in exergue; Tutela std. l., with a child either side
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, July 2019. Ex The Morris Collection.

Tutela, the goddess of guardianship, is a rare personification on Roman coinage. She first appears on the dupondii of Vitellius and later under Vespasian during his great bronze issue of 71, both on the dupondius and a unique sestertius. The type under Vespasian is extremely scarce with only two reverse dies known for the dupondius. The unique sestertius was acquired by Curtis Clay, for which he wrote the following concerning the TVTELA reverse type:

'Cohen suggested a dynastic interpretation of this TVTELA AVGVSTI rev. type: Vitellius seated with his two children, one boy and one girl, under Vitellius; Domitilla, Vespasian's deceased wife, seated with her sons Titus and Domitian under Vespasian.

Mattingly, in BMC, p. xliv, modified Cohen's interpretation: "Cohen can hardly be right in identifying the woman with Domitilla, but the children seem to stand for Titus and Domitian, and Tutela is the guardian care of the Emperor that watches over his sons."

However, I prefer Mattingly's alternate interpretation, which he explains in a footnote:

"Or the children might represent citizens and Tutela would then be the Emperor's ward over his subjects. Cf. Suetonius, Divus Vespasianus, 5, an omen that portended 'desertam rem p. civili aliqua perturbatione in tutelam eius ac velut in gremium deventuram' ['that the Roman state, abandoned because of some civil agitation, would fall under his protection (tutela) and as it were into his lap']....Martial (v.1.7ff.) addresses Domitian as 'o rerum felix tutela salusque / sospite quo gratum credimus esse Iovem' [O happy protector (tutela) and savior of our affairs, whose continuing good health makes us believe that Jupiter is on our side']."

These quotes, and others that Mattingly indicates in the same note, show that 'tutela' was commonly used in Vespasian's day to mean the emperor's solicitous care for his subjects. Plus, the few later appearances of a Tutela type on Roman coins, under Tetricus I and Carausius, do not include children and seem to refer to governing not childrearing.'

As can clearly be seen on this well preserved dupondius the two children standing either side of Tutela are togate, indicating that they are both boys and perhaps can be viewed as further evidence that Mattingly's alternate theory is correct and the two children do indeed represent the empire's citizens. Unfortunately, the Tutela type was struck rather fleetingly in 71 and did not become part of Vespasian's regular canon of reverse types.

One of the finest known examples of the type. A double die match with the ANS specimen 1906.236.246.

NB: BMC 527 records the type with an obverse reading COS II, however, the obverse has been tooled from an original COS III die. Its reverse die is also known to be paired with other COS III obverses.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJul 22, 2019
V1137.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-113757 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.51g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1137 (R). BMC p. 198 note ‡. BNC 800.
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
Ex Leu Web Auction 8, 29-30 June 2019, lot 1008.

During the great bronze issue of 71 a sestertius reverse type was struck at both Rome and Lyon (Lugdunum) which commemorates the Senate awarding the corona civica to Vespasian. The corona civica was originally a military honour bestowed upon a Roman who had saved a fellow citizen's life in battle. It was one of the greatest public honours. In the imperial era the honour developed from a coveted military decoration into an imperial emblem granted by the Senate to the emperor. The wreath was made of oak leaves and is sometimes called a corona quercea after the common name for the oak. Artistically it is sometimes depicted with acorns scattered amongst the leaves. Plutarch believed the oak was chosen for this highest of honours for several reasons. The tree was easily found throughout the countryside and was quite convenient for fashioning a wreath when the need arose. Also, the oak is sacred to Jupiter and Juno and thus was an appropriate symbolic honour given to one who has saved the life of a fellow Roman citizen, or indeed the state. Finally, the early settlers of Rome, the Arcadians, were nicknamed 'acorn-eaters' in an oracle of Apollo.

The 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.

Cleaned surfaces with brass toning.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJul 16, 2019
T498aa.jpg
Titus RIC-49842 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.38g
Eastern Mint (Thrace?), 80-81 AD
RIC 498 (C). BMC 309. RPC 501. BNC 323.
Obv: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., with branch and cornucopiae
Acquired from Munthandel G. Henzen, June 2019.

A mystery mint struck coins for Titus sometime between 80-81. The style (heavily seriffed letters, large portraits, and massive reverse figures), unique obverse legends (DIVI VESP F for Titus), and uncommon fabric (flat, almost 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. 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. This sestertius with its massive portrait and large reverse figure is quite typical for this elusive mint. The reverse copies a common Pax type struck contemporaneously at Rome.

Good style with dark brown patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJul 13, 2019
T220.jpg
Titus RIC-22069 viewsÆ As, 9.10g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 220 (R). BMC p. 266 note. BNC 212.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: AETERNIT AVGVST; S C in field; Aeternitas stg. r., l. foot on globe, with sceptre and cornucopiae
Acquired from eBay, June 2019.

Aeternitas, the personification of eternity, as a coin type was first introduced during the reign of Vespasian and would be periodically struck until the 4th century. This As featuring Aeternitas was struck during Titus' second and largest bronze issue in 80-81. Mattingly in BMCRE II speculates the type here refers to the consecration of Vespasian - 'Aeternitas holds sceptre and cornucopiae, the attributes of majesty and prosperity, while the globe under her foot shows that the application is world-wide. Stress is laid more on the great future than on the great past of the Flavian line.' A most fitting interpretation for a coin that declares 'The eternity of the Augustus'.

Honest wear with greenish-brown patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJul 08, 2019
D110a.jpg
Domitian RIC-11055 viewsÆ As, 10.56g
Rome mint, 82 AD
RIC 110 (C3). BMC 281. BNC 290.
Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VIII DES VIIII P P; S C in field; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield
Acquired from Holding History, eBay, June 2019.

Early in Domitian's reign Minerva figured prominently on the aes coinage. This As from early 82 featuring his patron deity with spear and shield would later be adopted by the denarius issues after the overhaul of the mint later in the year. It would become one of the standard four Minerva types for that denomination.

Fetching olive green patina.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 07, 2019
V1235.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-123542 viewsÆ As, 9.42g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1235 (C). BMC 846 var. BNC 848 var.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Garlanded Altar
Acquired from Kölner, June 2019.

Late in Vespasian's reign the mint at Lyon (ancient Lugdunum) struck a fairly large issue of bronze at a time when the mint at Rome was winding down its own bronze production. Presumably this late issue was produced to address a shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces. Many of the types were recycled from earlier issues from both Rome and Lyon. The common PROVIDENT altar type was sometimes struck at Lyon with a decorative garland, as seen on this example. Although this variant is not rare, surprisingly it is missing from the BM collection. Although the type is commonly described as an altar, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. Originally, Tiberius struck the Provident altar type for Divus Augustus. It was later revived during the recent Civil War and was struck by both Galba and Vitellius.

Provenanced to an old 'South German collection from the 1920s to the 1950s'. Nice old cabinet tone.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJul 01, 2019
T16A.jpg
Titus RIC 16A81 viewsAR Denarius, 2.83g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 16A (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: ANNONA AVG; Annona std. l., with sack of corn ears
Ex Roma Numismatics, E-Sale 58, 20 June 2019, lot 1078.

A unique First issue Annona paired with a Second issue obverse legend. The Annona reverse was a carry-over type struck for Titus as Caesar under Vespasian just before his death and was likely issued in the first few days of Titus' reign as a stop-gap until new reverse designs could be created. It is by far the rarest type from the First issue. The obverse legend changed in the second issue from the First issue's IMP T CAESAR to IMP TITVS CAES, this would be the standard obverse legend on the denarii for the remainder of the reign. The appearance of the Annona type with the new obverse legend is possibly a mule using an old First issue reverse die with a new Second issue obverse. There is a slight possibility that it was an intentional strike, but the fact that no other Second issue Annona specimens have surfaced is a strong indication it is accidental.

I informed Ian Carradice of the piece and he has assigned it RIC 16A in the upcoming RIC II.1 Addenda with the note: 'Perhaps a mule, with rev die from the previous issue'.

Good Roman style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 29, 2019
D281.jpg
Domitian RIC-28179 viewsÆ Sestertius, 26.14g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 281 (R). BMC 301. BNC 321.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM COS XI; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: S C in exergue; Domitian stg. r., clasping hands over altar with officer stg. l.; behind officer, one soldier with standard and one soldier at r. with spear and shield
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, June 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 182. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), acquired from the Heynen Collection; inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

In 85 Domitian struck a fairly impressive issue of sestertii, M. Grant hyperbolically called it the most 'ambitious' of any one reign or year. The series is the first major aes issue of Domitian's reign and is dominated by panoramic types commemorating his greatest military victory over the Germanic tribe the Chatti. The Germanic triumph received a certain amount of ridicule from ancient writers who thought the whole thing was a sham (Dio goes so far as to say Domitian raided the palace's furniture stores for his fake spoils!), no doubt the numismatic propaganda for the victory was likely viewed in the same manner by contemporary senatorial elites. This rare sestertius depicts a rather ambiguous scene showing Domitian, the much larger figure on the left, clasping hands with a legate over an altar while two legionaries stand by. What exactly is going on here is a mystery. Mattingly in BMCRE II believed it to be 'the taking of the sacramentum, the military oath'. Others have postulated the scene shows Domitian greeting Agricola upon his return from Britannia. The Agricola connection is highly unlikely. The type is struck for several more years, so it cannot be referring to one single 'event'. It's an intriguing scene in the context of the Germania Capta series, perhaps depicting a post victory ceremony. Whatever the meaning, the reverse strongly underscores Domitian's bond with the military.

This wonderful old cabinet toned piece is from the collection of the German portrait painter Fritz Reusing.

3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 27, 2019
T294.jpg
Domitian as Caesar RIC-29472 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.01g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
RIC 294 (C). BMC 231. BNC 238.
Obv: CAES DIVI AVG VESP F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in field; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, May 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 177. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

An exquisite sestertius struck for Domitian as Caesar under Titus featuring his patron deity Minerva. DIVI AVG VESP F tells us the coin was struck after Vespasian's deification. The date of Vespasian's consecratio is dated by the epigraphic evidence sometime between September 8, 79 - May 29, 80, so this sestertius could not have been struck much earlier than June 80. The Minerva reverse was one of the more common types struck during this second bronze issue for Domitian Caesar under Titus.

Although fine portraits can occasionally be seen in silver, it is on the larger canvas of the bronze where the full flower of Roman imperial portraiture can be seen. This sestertius has one of the finest portraits of Domitian I've come across. A superb example of the imperial engraver's art.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 23, 2019
V1132.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-113290 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.45g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1132 (R). BMC 799. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: CAESAR AVG F DES IMP AVG F COS DES II; S C in exergue; Titus and Domitian stg. front, each with spear and parazonium
Acquired from Romae Aeternae, June 2019.

An iconic dynastic sestertius struck during Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71. The type was struck both at Rome and Lyon (ancient Lugdunum) and announced Vespasian's intention to found a dynasty. Mattingly in BMCRE II calls it a 'famous' type placing the figures on the reverse as Titus on the left and Domitian on the right. While that is a conventional numismatic placement for the two Caesares, here we see the figure on the left holding a parazonium an attribute of an imperator, which of the two could only be Titus. Conversely, the figure on the left is holding something smaller (a roll?) that does not appear to be a parazonium, despite the above RIC description. The reverse legend corresponds for this placement of the figures with the first half of the legend CAES AVG F DES for Domitian on the left, the second half IMP AVG F COS DES II for Titus on the right. The legend has caused confusion over the years with some numismatists creating the phantom title Designatus Imperator for Titus. The title COS is implied for Domitian after DES in the legend, a kind of numismatic shorthand if you will. Gunnar Seelentag attempted to clear up the matter up in Numismatic Chronicle, Vol 167 (2007), but doubts remain. Curtis Clay has proposed that the traditional view of Titus on the left and Domitian on the right is correct, pointing out that both are holding a parazonium, theorising Titus' is hidden behind his body with only the handle showing. His arguments in full can be read here: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=44488.0 The reverse type itself is fairly rare with only a handful of specimens coming to market each decade, this Lugdunese specimen is much scarcer than those from Rome. Flavian dynastic types are far more common in silver.

Fantastic style with old cabinet toning. Same reverse die as Gemini IX, lot 414.

NB: Special thanks to Curtis Clay for additional numismatic information.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJun 19, 2019
V627.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 62774 viewsÆ As, 10.28g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 627 (R). BMC p. 153 note. BNC 682.
Obv: T CAES IMP PON TR P COS II CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., leaning on column, with caduceus and branch
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, May 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 164. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), acquired from O. Helbing of Munich, 1929; inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

Pax in various guises and types was struck repeatedly throughout Vespasian's reign for both himself and Titus Caesar. This variant with Pax leaning on a column was a perennial favourite. Pax's popularity on the coinage can perhaps be explained by Vespasian's construction of the Temple of Peace which was completed in 75.

Nice old cabinet toning.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJun 16, 2019
V1153.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-115361 viewsÆ Dupondius, 12.79g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1153 (C). BMC 806. BNC 806.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: S C in field; Victory flying l., with shield inscribed SPQR
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, May 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 157. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

A somewhat common Victory type unique to Lyon for Vespasian struck during his massive bronze issue of 71. It copies an earlier Lyon type produced for Nero. The coin is characterised by the mint's distinctive style in both the portraiture and the majestic, sweeping Victory on the reverse.

This is another coin from the Fritz Reusing Collection. Being a portrait painter, I would like to think Herr Reusing was was attracted to the coin's fantastic portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJun 08, 2019
V315a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-31574 viewsÆ As, 9.84g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 315 (R). BMC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PROVIDEN in exergue; S C in field; Altar
Acquired from Dr. Claus W. Hild, May 2019.

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. This popular type was later revived during the Civil War by Galba and Vitellius. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon, confining the type to the as issues. This example is the rare Rome mint variant with the unique abbreviated 'PROVIDEN' legend struck during the great bronze issue of 71. It is missing from the BM's extensive collection. The variant spellings can range the gamut from 'PROVID' to 'PROVIDENT'.

Well centred with a nice dark coppery patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 02, 2019
D751.jpg
Domitian RIC-75151 viewsÆ Sestertius, 23.75g
Rome mint, 92-94 AD
RIC 751 (C2). BMC 464. BNC 491.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XVI CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IOVI VICTORI; S C in exergue; Jupiter std. l., with Victory and sceptre
Acquired from eBay, May 2019. Ex Degani Coin Shop.

Just like the silver and gold, Domitian's aes coinage in the mid 80s settled down to a few predicable reverse types that were annually struck throughout the reign. The Sestertii were dominated by Victory crowning the emperor and the seated Jupiter with Victory, as seen on this coin. 'Jupiter the giver of Victory' was an important propaganda type because of the periodic conflicts on the Northern frontier that flared up form time to time. Domitian did not renew the consulship until 95, so these COS XVI sestertii are imprecisely dated between 92-94, which accounts for their extreme commonness.

A well worn example with a good portrait and fine olive green patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMay 26, 2019
V1200_(2).jpg
Vespasian-RIC-120055 viewsÆ As, 11.19g
Lyon mint, 72 AD
RIC 1200 (C). BMC 820. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS IIII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: PROVIDENT in exergue; S C in field; Altar
Ex Museum Surplus, May 2019.

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. This popular type was later revived during the Civil War by Galba and Vitellius. Vespasian began striking it early in his reign both at Rome and Lyon. This common example is from the latter mint, struck in 72.

Solid example with a rich dark brown patina.
2 commentsDavid AthertonMay 24, 2019
T215b.jpg
Titus RIC-21571 viewsÆ As, 9.73g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 215 (C). BMC 204. BNC 207.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: AEQVITAS AVGVST; S C in field; Aequitas stg. l., with scales and rod
Ex eBay, 10 May 2019.

Titus produced a sizeable bronze issue in 80-81. He did not renew the consulship in 81, so it is difficult to pin down a precise date. Owing to the issue's large size it is likely many of the coins did indeed spill over into 81. Here we see a common Aequitas type from that large issue which was originally struck under Vespasian, who in turn copied it from Galba. Aequitas likely represents fairness in issuing out the corn dole.

Honest wear with a dark olive green patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMay 20, 2019
V351.jpg
Vespasian RIC-35157 viewsÆ Quadrans, 2.54g
Rome Mint, 71 AD
RIC 351 (R). BMC 618. BNC -.
Obv: IMP VESPASIAN AVG; Palm tree
Rev: P M TR PPP COS III; S C in field; Vexillum
Acquired from numis-kimel, eBay, May 2019.

During Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71 the Rome mint produced a series of quadrantes. Their rarity today is likely a result of them being of low value and typically not hoarded. Mimicking the larger bronze, the Jewish War victory was celebrated on them as well. Because of the small flan size brevity is called for: a palm representing Judaea on the obverse, and a Vexillum symbolising military victory on the reverse - straight and to the point! Ironically, despite their rarity today, more of the plebeian population would have seen these quadrantes than their more famous 'Judaea Capta' silver cousins.

Struck with full legends and sporting a fetching 'Tiber' patina.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMay 18, 2019
V238aa.jpg
Vespasian RIC-23876 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.68g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 238 (C). BMC 552. BNC 509.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: MARS VICTOR; S C in field; Mars, armoured, adv. l., with Victory and trophy
Ex CNG E443, 1 May 2019, lot 530.

A sestertius struck in Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71. The reverse features the first Mars type coined for the new emperor, copied from one previously struck for Vitellius. Mars is seen here in full military dress instead of the heroic nude he is normally depicted as on the contemporary denarii. This MARS VICTOR type pays proper respect to the god of war for granting Flavian success in the recently concluded Jewish War (an open display of celebration for defeating Vitellius would be taboo on the coinage). The portraits from this aes issue can be quite extraordinary. C.H.V. Sutherland in his book Roman Coins writes: 'Vespasian's aes, however, and not merely the sestertii, developed a full magnificence of portraiture ... The beauty of this work lay in it's realism, strong in authority and yet delicate in execution ...' (p. 189). Perhaps, a portrait such as this is what Sutherland had in mind when he wrote that passage.

The minor porosity does not detract from the superb veristic portrait and beautiful dark brown patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMay 10, 2019
T503.jpg
Titus RIC-50388 viewsÆ Dupondius, 12.49g
Eastern Mint (Thrace?), 80-81 AD
RIC 503 (R). BMC 314. RPC 507. BNC 325.
Obv: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, radiate, bearded, r.
Rev: ROMA; S C in exergue; Roma std. l. on cuirass, with wreath and parazonium
Acquired from eBay, April 2019.

A mystery mint struck coins for Titus sometime between 80-81. The style (heavily seriffed letters, large portraits, and massive reverse figures), unique obverse legends (DIVI VESP F for Titus), and uncommon fabric (flat, almost 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. 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. Only one reverse is known for the dupondius, the Roma type seen on this coin.

Beautifully toned with an extraordinarily decadent portrait.
10 commentsDavid AthertonMay 05, 2019
V444_(3).jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 44463 viewsÆ As, 10.20g
Rome mint, 72 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 444 (R). BMC 642. BNC 632.
Obv: T CAES VESPASIAN IMP P TR P COS II; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: FIDES PVBLICA; S C below; Hands clasped over caduceus and corn ears
Acquired from Gert Boersema, April 2019.

The clasped hands type had been introduced during Vespasian's great bronze issues of 71. It perhaps symbolises good faith in the corn supply (corn ears), trade (caduceus), and agricultural abundance. From the moment coins were issued in Titus Caesar's name in 72 he shared many of the reverses struck for his father, such as this clasped hands type. It must have contained a very important message for the regime since it was also produced in silver.

A fine early style portrait of the young prince with a dark greenish-grey patina.
7 commentsDavid AthertonApr 30, 2019
V989bestsm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-98996 viewsÆ Sestertius, 21.45g
Rome mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 989 (R3). BMC -. BNC 766.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN COS VIII; Head of Vespasian, laurerate, l.
Rev: ANNONA AVGVST; S C in field; Annona std. l., with sack of corn ears
Ex eBay, 13 April 2019.

The bronze issue of 77-78 struck at Rome was quite small, all the sestertii from it are considered rare. The 'IMP CAESAR' left facing obverse portrait with Annona reverse is listed in RIC as unique with one specimen cited from the Paris collection. None are listed in the RIC II Addenda. This then is the second known specimen, a double die match with the Paris coin.

A classic severe portrait (B. Levick called them 'straining' portraits) combined with a beautiful dark olive green patina.
7 commentsDavid AthertonApr 24, 2019
V914lg.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 91461 viewsÆ As, 11.03g
Rome mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 914 (R). BMC 728. BNC -.
Obv: T CAESAR IMP COS V; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in field; Spes stg. l. with flower
Acquired from eBay, April 2019.

A small issue of bronze was struck by the Rome mint in 76. The asses of this issue were produced on larger than normal flans (27-28mm) and at a slightly heavier weight. Surprisingly, this Spes type from 76 struck for Titus Caesar is fairly rare with many specimens sharing this coin's die combination. Spes was a fairly common reverse type of the dynasty and was likely copied from a well known cult statue. As the goddess of hope, she is the perfect 'heir apparent' personification for a future emperor. As Mattingly put it in BMCRE II - 'The flower is an opening bud, she is raising her skirt in order to hasten forward.'

Although the patina has been largely stripped away, the piece has a pleasingly rich coppery hue.
3 commentsDavid AthertonApr 18, 2019
V1015_best.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-101588 viewsÆ Quadrans, 2.31g
Rome Mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1015 (R). BMC 740A. BNC 780.
Obv: IMP VESPASIAN AVG; Rudder on globe
Rev: P M TR P P P COS VIII; S C in field; Caduceus, winged
Acquired from Numismatica Prada, April 2019.

The quadrans in the early imperial period typically lacked an imperial portrait. Possibly the denomination was deemed so lowly by mint officials that a portrait was considered improper. They were struck haphazardly and functioned primarily as an urban low value coinage in Rome and central Italy. The quadrans was the typical fee for entry into the baths, a urinal, or for a tryst in a cheap brothel. Being of rather low value quadrantes were not typically hoarded and thus are relatively scarce today. The rudder over globe suggests Vespasian's continued steady hand guiding the empire.

Nicely centred and well preserved for the type.
5 commentsDavid AthertonApr 13, 2019
V449asm_(3).jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 44956 viewsÆ As, 10.92g
Rome mint, 72 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 449 (R). BMC 644. BNC 635.
Obv: T CAES VESPASIAN IMP P TR P COS II; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in field; Aquila between two standards
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, April 2019. Ex Savoca Silver 30, 27 January 2019, lot 337.

The aquila between two standards type was struck early in Vespasian's reign to honour the loyalty of the legions, seen here on the reverse of this rare Titus as Caesar As. The aquila, which featured an eagle clutching a thunderbolt, was the most important standard of any legion. With the recent successful completion of the Civil War and Jewish rebellion Vespasian and Titus knew which side their bread was buttered on! The type was later revived under Titus and Domitian for their cistophori.

Solid portrait with a fetching dark patina.
6 commentsDavid AthertonApr 11, 2019
V1211aaa.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-121155 viewsÆ Dupondius, 13.42g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1211 (R). BMC 831. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: FIDES PVBLICA; S C in field; Fides stg. l., with patera and cornucopiae
Ex eBay, 23 March 2019.

FIDES PVBLICA, the good faith of the state, was a common personification on Vespasian's coinage. The figure on the reverse is likely based on a cult statue of the goddess whose annual sacrifice occurred on 1 October. Important documents of state and treaties were store in her temple for safe keeping. The Fides type came into common imperial use during the Flavian era and was an important part of Vespasian's numismatic propaganda. This dupondius was struck at the Lyon mint in 77-78 in a fairly large issue that presumably addressed a shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces. Oddly enough, dupondii are more commonly encountered in this issue with a laureate bust instead of the usual radiate one as seen here.

Well centred with a fetching dark chocolate patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonApr 02, 2019
V423.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 42349 viewsÆ Sestertius, 23.43g
Rome mint, 72 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 423 (C). BMC 633. BNC 619.
Obv: T CAES VESPASIAN IMP PON TR POT COS II; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PAX AVGVSTI; S C in field; Pax stg. l., with branch and cornucopiae
Ex Holding History, eBay, 16 March 2019.

After the recent Civil War and Jewish and Batavian rebellions this common Pax reverse type from 72 had special propaganda value for the new Flavian regime: peace and prosperity. It would be one of the more popular themes of Vespasian's coinage. Unsurprisingly, this Pax type is shared with Vespasian.

Worn, but in fine style with a nice dark chocolate patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMar 27, 2019
V1268sm.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC-126854 viewsÆ As, 9.35g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1268 (C2). BMC 862. BNC 872.
Obv: T CAES IMP AVG F TR P COS VI CENSOR; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, 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 GB Collection, March 2019.

The importance of the Jewish War to the Flavian dynasty cannot be overestimated. It provided much needed legitimacy for the imperial rule of 'new men'. This common as struck for Titus Caesar nearly eight years after the 'Gotterdammerung' fall of Jerusalem is ample evidence of the dynasty's continued reliance on the propaganda value of 'Judaea Capta'. It would continue to be Titus' calling card even after he became emperor a year or so later. This coin was struck in Lugdunum (Lyon) in a fairly large issue that presumably addressed a shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces.

Good Lyon style with a fetching dark patina.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMar 25, 2019
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Domitian RIC-821102 viewsAR Denarius, 3.42g
Rome mint, 96 AD
RIC 821 (R2). BMC 237D. RSC 297b. BNC - .
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XVI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva, winged, flying l., with spear and shield
Ex jerusalemhadaya2012, eBay, 4 March 2019.

Domitian achieved tribunician power for the 16th time on 14 September 96 AD. He was assassinated in a palace plot four days later on 18 September. In between those two dates the mint struck only one issue of denarii recording Domitian as TR P XVI, needless to say they are extremely rare! The Senate decreed Damnatio Memoriae within a day of Domitian's assassination which would have quickly halted production at the mint for his coinage. The months leading up to Domitian's assassination saw the mint at Rome experimenting with many new reverse designs (altar, winged Minerva, Maia, temple reverses), breaking the monotony of the four standard Minerva types that had previously dominated the denarius. These new types are exceedingly rare and were perhaps experimental in nature. This denarius shows one of these new reverse types, Minerva Victrix, a more warrior like attribute of the goddess. The fact that this new type which originally appeared on the denarius when Domitian was TR P XV carried over to the briefly struck TR P XVI issue alongside the Maia and the M1, M3, and M4 Minerva types may hint that there was indeed change in the air at the mint. Perhaps the mix of new types with the older ones hint at a transition regarding the typology on his precious metal coinage? Regardless, the experiment was cut short by an assassin's blade, so we shall never know. This denarius may very well be the last coin ever struck for Domitian.

Fine late style with good natural toning. Same dies as the BM specimen.
10 commentsDavid AthertonMar 19, 2019
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Titus as Caesar RIC 43171 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.13g
Rome mint, 72 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 431 (R). BMC 636. BNC 625.
Obv: T CAES VESPASIAN IMP PON TR POT COS II; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in exergue; Titus stg. r., with branch and sceptre, in quadriga r.
Acquired from Wallinmynt, February 2019.

In 71 AD Vespasian and Titus held a double triumph celebrating their victory in the recently concluded Judaean War. The spectacular triumph was held a few days after Titus' arrival from the East in June and could be viewed as his effective homecoming party. Mary Beard has shrewdly observed that the triumph served as 'the Flavian coronation, the official launch party and press night of the Flavian dynasty.' It was the first time after Vespasian's rise to the purple that the whole family could be seen together by the Roman populace. Vespasian and Titus were identically dressed riding in matching quadrigas while Domitian trotted alongside on a splendid mount. The procession included massive towering floats depicting various 'battles' (one wonders how the makeshift naval battle on the Sea of Galilee was rendered?) that were so enormous many onlookers feared they would topple over. Booty from the destroyed Temple (the famous Menorah for one) along with other Eastern flavoured treasures were on display. Much of these treasures were likely manufactured in Rome for the event - a lavish sham in other words. The war ravaged region really didn't have much to offer in the way of razzmatazz show pieces, even the Temple's coffers were likely depleted by war's end. Despite all this, it cannot be underestimated how important this manufactured spectacle was for the young dynasty. The legitimacy and prestige the triumph provided to the family was worth every propaganda penny the regime spent on it, allowing Vespasian to announce to the world that Titus was his chosen heir. By showcasing his eldest son on an equal footing in the procession, it left little doubt who would succeed after his death. Coins were struck in all metals to commemorate the event. Here is a rare sestertius struck for Titus Caesar in 72 showing him in triumphal dress riding in a triumphal quadriga, the type is more commonly seen in silver from Antioch. The same reverse was identically struck for Vespasian, clear numismatic evidence of Vespasian's intentions for his son. The piece itself serves as a superb memento of the 'Greatest Show on Earth' triumph put on by the Flavian regime in the late First century.

The fine style portrait on the obverse is quite impressive, unmarred by three punch marks from antiquity.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMar 12, 2019
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Vespasian-RIC-26068 viewsÆ Sestertius, 27.35g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
RIC 260 (R2). BMC 224. BNC 232.
Obv: DIVVS AVGVSTVS VESP; Deified Vespasian std. l., with branch and sceptre
Rev: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; S C, large, in centre
Ex eBay, 21 February 2019. Ex Tom Cederlind, 1996.

The funeral Titus held for his father Vespasian in the early summer of 79 was a lavish affair. Suetonius says it reportedly cost 10 million sestertii! B. Levick in her Vespasian biography speculates the procession was closely modelled on the one held for Divus Augustus by Tiberius. Vespasian's body was borne by leading senators on a funerary couch of ivory and gold with the body hidden from view, instead onlookers saw a wax image of Vespasian in triumphal gear. A cult statue of the dead emperor was also displayed in a triumphal chariot - the same statue of Vespasian that is likely commemorated on the obverse of this rare sestertius struck by Titus for the deified Vespasian. Two variants of the obverse legend occur: one with 'VESPASIAN' (seated on a curule chair) and this coin's 'VESP' - which seems to be slightly rarer. Only one obverse die has been recorded for this variant.
The seated emperor with branch and sceptre was also struck for Divus Augustus in a restoration issue by Titus. Minting the same type for both Divus Augustus and Divus Vespasian was a way to stress a parallel between the two emperors, a parallel that Vespasian had earlier emphasised with his own coinage. The date with Titus as COS VIII places the coin between 80-81, at least a full six months after Vespasian's death on 24 June 79 (assuming the coins were produced contemporaneously with Vespasian's deification). Epigraphic evidence shows Vespasian had been deified sometime before 29 May 80. Why they were struck so late remains a mystery. Perhaps the delay for deification was an attempt on Titus' part to avoid his father becoming a court joke as Claudius had become, or so B. Levick has asserted. She believes the famous 'Woe's me ...' quip attributed to Vespasian is likely a later cruel jest parodying Claudius' last utterance 'Woe's me, I think I've messed myself'. Regardless, the political expediency of having a deified father likely overruled any such qualms.

Beautiful dark brown patina. A fine piece in hand!
4 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 27, 2019
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Domitian RIC-25182 viewsÆ Quadrans, 3.32g
Rome Mint, 84-85 AD
RIC 251 (R). BMC -. BNC 542.
Obv: (No legend) Rhinoceros stg. l.
Rev: IMP DOMIT AVG GERM; S C in centre
Acquired from Marc Breitsprecher, February 2019.

A few years into Domitian's reign an extraordinary issue of quadrantes were struck featuring a rhinoceros. Although the coins are undated, their production can be narrowed down between late 83 when he assumed the title Germanicus and 85 when the consular date XI appeared on the quadrantes. The type is highly unusual and breaks with the standard obverses that were normally featured on the quadrans. One may ask, why a rhinoceros? Certainly the animal was rare in Rome and most difficult to obtain. The rhinoceros depicted on the coin is the African species, identified by the two horns. Martial in his book 'On Spectacles' tells of such a rhinoceros in the Colosseum. Presumably, these coins were struck with that very 'star performer' in mind. Ted Buttrey wrote about this coin type in his article Domitian, the Rhinoceros, and the Date of Martial's "Liber De Spectaculis": "it is wrong to write off the rhinoceros of Domitian's coin casually, as if the coin were a picture postcard from the zoo: 'This is a rhinoceros'. No, coin types are pointed. Everything has to do with imperial advertisement and with its importance at the moment of issue: 'This is my rhinoceros'. Domitian's rhinoceros, in its supremacy in the arena might well stand as a metaphor for the invincible success of the emperor conquering general who had recently assumed the historically-weighted title of Germanicus." Coming back to Martial, he also speaks of tokens being showered upon the cheering crowds - could these quadrantes struck cheaply and in massive quantities have been gifts to the cheering mob at the arena? In essence, can this coin double as currency and a souvenir from a long ago day at the games in the Colosseum?

This variant of the famous rhinoceros quadrans is somewhat rare (no examples in the BM) because of the obverse legend beginning in the upper right, more commonly it begins in the lower left. Artistically, most of the rhinos depicted on these coins have a lot to be desired. Some look like wild boars with horns added for effect. Happily, the animal depicted on this coin's obverse indeed looks every part the powerful and fearsome beast which awestruck Roman audiences - as a matter of fact, it appears to be charging with its head down. Perhaps the engraver was a witness to the very games martial describes?

As mentioned above, the rhino depicted on the coin is the two-horned African species. In contrast, the Indian rhino has one horn. Pliny in his Natural Histories describes the rhinoceros as a one horned creature (although confusingly he confirms its Ethiopian origins), Martial said it had two. The rhino was so rare in Rome, Pliny had to go all the way back to the games of Pompey the Great in 55 BC to find a reference for the animal on display in the city, apparently it was a one-horned Indian rhino. At any rate, both the numismatic evidence and Martial's description coincide rather nicely to confirm that Domitian, at great expense no doubt, brought to Rome an African rhinoceros for his shows in the new Colosseum. The surviving coins featuring this fantastic beast prove how important a feat this was to the emperor.

Well centred with a lovely green patina and fine style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 19, 2019
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Vespasian-RIC-1170 Engraver's Error87 viewsÆ As, 8.58g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1170 var. BMC 811 var. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: Retrograde S C in field; Eagle stg. front on globe, wings outstretched, head r.
Ex Ibercoin 25, 30 January 2019, lot 385.

The reverse is the main attraction here. The 'S C' is mistakenly struck retrograde, a major error on the engraver's part. I wonder how many of these were struck until the mistake was noticed? It's the first one I've come across. Errors like this are quite rare in the Flavian era, which would probably indicate there aren't many examples of this reverse die that survived. This As was struck in 71 when both Rome and Lyon produced a massive issue of bronze, which may somewhat excuse the error. Rare even without the retrograde 'S C'. Also of note, the 'S C' on this type is normally placed on either side of the eagle's wings, here it is on either side of its claws.

Rough, but the all important reverse is decently struck and nicely centred.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 14, 2019
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Vespasian-RIC-156568 viewsÆ As, 6.57g
Rome mint, 74 AD
RIC 1565 (C2). BMC 894. RPC 1984 (20 spec.). BNC 913.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESP AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: S • C in laurel wreath
Acquired from Ephesus Numismatics, January 2019.

In 74 AD the Rome mint produced an extraordinary issue of bronze coinage of dupondii, asses, semisses, and quadrantes with a somewhat Eastern theme. Previously, these coins had been attributed to either Commagene (BMCRE) or Syria (RPC, and doubtfully so in RIC), but more recent scholarship has shown they actually were struck in Rome. The circulation pattern confirms this - out of a total of 112 of the smaller denominations cited by RPC, all but 4 were found in Western Europe. Ted Buttrey confirms 'The Eastern finds appear to be simply the débris of Mediterranean circulation.' But why was this series produced in such a fashion? Buttrey proffers a plausible theory - '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.' So, in essence, a very personally important issue for Vespasian.

Curtis Clay has a few objections for Buttrey's theory why the issue was struck. 'As far as I am aware, there is nothing "astonishing" about Vespasian's "signing" of the two coins of Sepphoris. EΠI followed by the governor's name appeared frequently on Roman provincial coins, meaning simply, "Struck while the man named was governor". So there was no evident reason for Vespasian to consider it extraordinary that he had been named as governor of Syria on coins of Sepphoris struck for Nero near the end of his reign (Year 14), and no evident reason why he should have referred to the Sepphoris coins in his orichalcum issue struck at Rome five years later. It seems quite probable that Vespasian never even noticed his name on the coins of Sepphoris, and certainly very few Romans in the West will ever have seen such a coin, though Buttrey thinks the orichalcum coins were struck for circulation in the West in 74 in order to recall precisely those Sepphoris coins with their reference to Vespasian some months before his accession. Why waste coin types on references that were inconsequential, and that nobody was likely to comprehend?

If the orichalcum issue was meant to recall those two coins of Sepphoris, shouldn't it have been struck for Vespasian only, and using only those two rev. types, caduceus between crossed cornucopias and large SC? But that was not the case. Both the caduceus between crossed cornucopias type and the large SC type were struck not only for Vespasian, but also for Titus and Domitian as Caesars. Moreover those were not the only two rev. types of the issue: other coins showed a bust of Antioch with legend ANTIOCHIA , and (on small coins only) the same winged caduceus as on the crossed cornucopias dupondii, but without the cornucopias (see images below). It seems to me highly unlikely that the three main types of this issue, all struck for Titus and Domitian as well as Vespasian, were inspired by and meant to recall the far simpler issue of Sepphoris, using just two changing types (obv. types in this case) and of course naming Vespasian only.'

If Buttrey's argument is wrong it brings us back to the original question - why was an Eastern flavoured coinage struck for circulation in the West? Perhaps the issue may be nothing more than Vespasian paying homage to the part of the world that elevated him.

This As is a fine example of the smaller denomination, nicely centred with a beautiful emerald green patina.
2 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 12, 2019
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Domitian RIC-623b85 viewsÆ As, 10.13g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 623b (C2). BMC 434. BNC 471.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC; S C in exergue; Domitian stg. l., sacrificing over altar; to l., flute player and lyre player stg. r.; in background, temple, wreath in pediment
Acquired from Künker, January 2019. Ex Heinrich Pilartz Münzhandlung.

In October 88 AD Domitian held the Secular Games, a festival featuring theatrical performances and circus games accompanied by six various daytime and nighttime religious ceremonies. The games marked the transition from one era (saeculum) to another and were supposedly held once every 110 years, or the maximum span of a human lifetime, making them a 'once in a lifetime' event. Domitian conducted his games on the Augustan calculation, rejecting the formula for the Claudian games held in 47 AD. The festival was important enough to interrupt the normal striking of reverse types on the coinage and for the mint to produce a new unique issue commemorating the event both in precious metal and bronze. The precious metal designs tended to be symbolic while the bronze were more narrative in nature, focusing on the various religious sacrifices that were at the heart of the games.

The reverse on this as features a daytime victimless sacrifice of cakes to Apollo and Diana on the sixth and last day of the celebrations, held in front of an unidentified hexastyle temple somewhere on the Palatine. The stylised nature of the reverse's design makes it difficult to pinpoint the temple in question. The generic decorative wreath in the pediment offers no clues. Another variant of the type (RIC 623a) has an eagle in the pediment, perhaps an indication the engravers were not intending to depict a specific temple at all. The scene could stand alone and be an excellent representation for all the religious ceremonies of the games. The main message of the design is to show the Roman people that Domitian provided and responsibly held the Secular Games. The fact this type was struck in fairly large quantities hints it was an important piece of Domitianic propaganda.

Struck on a large flan in fine style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 05, 2019
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Vespasian-RIC-121569 viewsÆ Dupondius, 12.97g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1215 (C3). BMC 833. BNC 829.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: FORTVNAE REDVCI; S C in field; Fortuna stg. l., with rudder on globe and cornucopiae
Acquired from GB Collection, January 2019.

A possible shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces late in Vespasian's reign likely prompted the Lyon mint to temporarily reopen in 77-78 and strike a fairly substantial issue of coinage. Curiously, as seen here, the dupondii are commonly unradiated but can be told apart from the asses by their heavier weight. 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 Lyon that continued to commemorated the safe return of Vespasian and Titus from the East at the beginning of the reign.

A fantastic high relief portrait in distinctive Lyonnais style.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJan 29, 2019
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Titus RIC-15558 viewsÆ Sestertius, 22.74g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 155 (C). BMC 171. BNC 162.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P 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 Marti Numismatics, January 2019.

Pax was a fairly common reverse type struck for Titus. This particular Pax with branch and cornucopiae is a carry-over from Vespasian's coinage. Apparently, the propaganda value of peace was quite limitless. Despite the wear, this coin features one of the most magnificent coin portraits of Titus I have come across in either silver or bronze. Truly the work of a master engraver! There is one peculiar thing I have noticed about Titus' bronze coinage, the left facing portraits tend to be in a finer style than the right facing ones. Perhaps a talented engraver at the mint preferred his portraits facing left?

Worn, but in exceptionally fine style with an appealing dark patina.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJan 22, 2019
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03c Domitian as Caesar RIC 93259 viewsÆ As, 10.65g
Rome mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 932 (C). BMC -. BNC -.
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
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Titus RIC-49972 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.63g
Eastern Mint (Thrace?), 80-81 AD
RIC 499 (C). BMC 310. RPC 502. BNC 324.
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.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJan 09, 2019
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Titus RIC-23362 viewsÆ As, 11.89g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 233 (R3). BMC -. BNC -.
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 7840 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.82g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 78 (C2). BMC 261. BNC 276.
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-32269 viewsÆ As, 10.55g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 322 (R). BMC 612. BNC 589.
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-167134 viewsÆ Sestertius, 24.60g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 167 (C3). BMC 543. BNC 497.
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 'Gotterdammerung' fall 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
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Domitian RIC-56287 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 562 (R). BMC 141. RSC 67. BNC -.
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-19090 viewsÆ Sestertius, 25.22g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 190 (C3). BMC 560. BNC 525.
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
V1202.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-120283 viewsÆ As, 10.37g
Lyon mint, 72 AD
RIC 1202 (C2). BMC 822. BNC 819.
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
V897sm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-89776 viewsÆ As, 9.85g
Rome mint, 76 AD
RIC 897 (R). BMC p. 169 note. BNC -.
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
V1233aa.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1233109 viewsÆ As, 9.19g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 1233 (C). BMC 845. BNC 846.
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 73 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-155692 viewsAR Denarius, 3.42g
Antioch mint, 72-73 AD
RIC 1556 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
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
V759a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-759120 viewsÆ Dupondius, 14.46g
Rome mint, 74 AD
RIC 759 (C). BMC p. 219 note. RPC 1983 (6 spec.). BNC 905.
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
D15.jpg
Domitian RIC 1585 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 15 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
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-16893 viewsÆ Sestertius, 23.01g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 168 (C2). BMC 168. BNC 499.
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
V730asm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-73075 viewsÆ As, 10.91g
Rome mint, 74 AD
RIC 730 (C). BMC 703. BNC 721.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESP AVG COS V CENS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: S C in field; Spes stg. l., with flower
Acquired from Roman Coin Shop, September 2018. Ex Künker eLive Auction 40, 18 May 2016, lot 7566.

Spes is a common reverse type struck repeatedly throughout the Flavian era, she is mostly associated with Domitian in both silver and bronze. Here Spes represents Vespasian's hope for a happy dynastic future. The depiction of Spes raising skirt and holding a flower likely copies a familiar cult statue of the goddess.

Bold portrait in good metal. A very attractive coin in hand.
4 commentsDavid AthertonOct 02, 2018
D221.jpg
Domitian RIC-22146 viewsÆ As, 10.23g
Rome mint, 84 AD
RIC 221 (C2). BMC 288. BNC 304.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM COS X; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: MONETA AVGVST; S C in field; Moneta stg. l., with scales and cornucopiae
Acquired from Marti Classical Numismatics, September 2018.

In 82 Domitian reformed the coinage by increasing the weight of the gold and fineness of the silver. Production of the bronze coinage was suspended while the mint was reorganised and resumed in 84 with new reverse types. Appropriately, one of the first types struck on the bronze after the coinage reform was Moneta, 'mint goddess of the emperor'. Mattingly believes Moneta in this context can be seen as symbolising Domitian's control of the mint and as paymaster to the empire. A fitting reverse design for an emperor who cared so much for his coinage.

Superb portrait and nice brown patina.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 25, 2018
T226.jpg
Titus RIC-226158 viewsÆ As, 10.75g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
RIC 226 (R). BMC 210. BNC -.
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: GENI P R; S C in field; Genius stg. l., with patera over altar and cornucopiae
Acquired from London Ancient Coins, September 2018.

Genius - 'The spirit of the Roman people' is not a common motif in Flavian coinage. It occurs under Vespasian on rare Spanish military denarii struck early in his reign and briefly during the reign of Titus on asses struck in 80-81. Mattingly connects the type under Titus with 'the vows undertaken for the first five years of the new reign'. The coin is dated COS VIII which Titus held in 80 (he did not renew the consulship in 81). Unlike the parallel silver issue the bronze lack an IMP number and cannot be more precisely dated. Most likely they were struck in the first half of 80 along with the silver.

Neatly centred with a fantastic portrait.
10 commentsDavid AthertonSep 18, 2018
V1160.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-116094 viewsÆ Dupondius, 11.14g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1160 (R2). BMC 809. BNC 809.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: VICTORIA NAVALIS; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
Acquired from Victor's Imperial Coins, September 2018.

The Victory on prow type is traditionally attributed to the naval victory Vespasian won on Lake Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee) during the Jewish War. By any definition it is a most bizarre 'naval' battle indeed. Near the close of the Galilean campaign, Vespasian and Titus marched to Lake Gennesaret in order to secure the cities along its coastline. Tiberias fell without much resistance, but the neighbouring city of Taricheae was a tougher nut to crack. Home to many of the Jewish rebels who had fled Tiberias, they put up a small fight on the plain outside the city and were quickly defeated by Titus' troops who then stormed the city and began slaughtering the inhabitants. Many of the rebels took flight to waiting boats they had previously commandeered on the lake. These were likely local fishing or ferry vessels not intended for use in war. Vespasian ordered the legionaries to construct large rafts in order to pursue the rebel's makeshift flotilla. With the coastline guarded by Roman horsemen the legionaries launched their rafts and sailed out in a large line toward the enemy. The Jewish boats were no match for the heavily armoured Roman rafts. The legionaries easily picked off the Jewish rebels who had no means of escape. The slaughter was intense, so much so that Josephus claims 6,500 Jews were killed. Several years later during Vespasian and Titus' Jewish War Triumph in Rome, ships were displayed to commemorate the battle. Were the Victoria Navalis coins struck with the same event in mind? As unlikely as it seems, the impromptu 'naval' battle at Lake Gennesaret is the best candidate for Vespasian striking this Actium-lite reverse type. The connection to Augustus would not have been lost on his contemporaries. Flavian propaganda at its most exaggerated.

This Victoria Navalis dupondius struck at Lugdunum (Lyon) is much rarer than the Rome mint variants, which are more commonly seen on the As issues. The 'severe' portrait along with the globe at the base of the neck help to distinguish them from their Rome mint counterparts.
5 commentsDavid AthertonSep 12, 2018
V715b.jpg
Vespasian RIC-71597 viewsÆ Dupondius, 10.55g
Rome mint, 74 AD
RIC 715 (C2). BMC 696. BNC 712.
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M T P COS V CENS; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.
Rev: FELICITAS PVBLICA; S C in field; Felicitas stg. l., with caduceus and cornucopiae
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, August 2018.

A decently sized bronze coinage was struck for Vespasian in 74. The Felicitas on the reverse symbolises the prosperity and abundance Vespasian has brought to the empire. It is easily one of the commonest reverse types of the issue.

Well centred with a few marks on the reverse.
5 commentsDavid AthertonSep 01, 2018
V2aa_(2).jpg
Vespasian RIC 02 (2)109 viewsAR Denarius, 2.80g
Rome Mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 2 (C2). BMC 35. RSC 226. BNC 23.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IVDAEA in ex.; Jewess (as type of Judaea), draped and veiled, seated r. on ground in attitude of mourning, legs extended, head resting on l. hand, which is propped on knees, r. arm on lap; behind, trophy, consisting of helmet, cuirass, oblong and round shield, greaves, and two round shields
Acquired from eBay, August 2018.

My second example of the common Judaea Capta denarius. Here Judaea's legs are extended instead of the more common 'knees drawn up'. Mattingly notes the distinction in the BMCRE II catalogue, it is largely uncommented upon elsewhere. Most likely these denarii commemorating the defeat of the Jews in the Judaean War were struck after news had reached Rome of Titus' capture of Jerusalem in late August 70. The portraits still do not resemble Vespasian, who arrived in Rome in October 70. Vespasian had to have been very proud of his Judaean victory because this Capta denarius type was one of the first struck in Rome in such vast quantities. The Flavian propaganda resulting from this war proved to be very valuable in legitimising the dynasty's reign. Although a very common type, these command premium prices in trade because of the Judaean War connection.

This portrait features a lean Vespasian with short, stubbly hair.

4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 28, 2018
V29a.jpg
Vespasian RIC 29 (2)84 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Rome Mint, January - June 70 AD
RIC 29 (C3). BMC 26. RSC 94h. BNC 18.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER TR POT; Pax, draped, seated l., holding branch extended in r. hand and winged caduceus in l.
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, August 2018.

This seated Pax is by far the most common type of the 'COS ITER' issue. It may even have been struck well after June 70, evidenced by the vast quantities that have survived and the classic Vespasianic portrait many of them display (Vespasian arrived in Rome c. October 70). COS ITER in the reverse legend is sometimes unusually spaced dependent on where Pax's branch is positioned - here the break occurs between the 'T' and 'E'. Most examples do not have such a break.

An early fine style portrait with true Vespasianic features. Unobtrusive flan flaw.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 16, 2018
V980a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-980 (3)66 viewsAR Denarius, 2.92g
Rome mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 980 (C). BMC 217 corr. RSC 219. BNC 191.
Obv: CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, right.
Rev: IMP XIX across field; Modius, standing on three legs, containing one ear of corn upright, then two ears of corn bending r. and l. with poppy in between and two ears of corn hanging over the sides
Acquired from Münzen & Medaillen, July 2018. 'From an old Swiss collection'.

A rare variant of the modius type with poppies in between the corn ears. The BNC notes this variant (BNC 191). The variants with poppies tend to have longer corn ears than the common examples without them. The poppy in the Roman world was often a symbol of abundance and fertility, so it is quite fitting to see them symbolically stored in a modius alongside corn ears. NB: BMC 217 has the poppies on either side of the upright corn ear.

Well centred on a ragged flan.
2 commentsDavid AthertonAug 08, 2018
RPC1651var.jpg
RPC-1651-Vespasian (2)53 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.93g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 76-77 AD
RPC 1651 var. (19 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ΔOMЄTIANOC KAICAP CЄBA YIO ЄT Θ; Domitian standing, l., holding branch
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, July 2018.

A 'local' style Cappadocian didrachm with an unusual reverse legend variant. Here we have 'ΔOMЄTIANOC' instead of 'ΔOMITIANOC', and 'CЄBA' instead of 'CЄB'. The odd spelling of Domitian's name with an 'Є' occurs only a handful of times on extremely rare bronze provincial coins. To my knowledge this variant legend is confined to just one reverse die. Nemonator has a die match in his Forvm gallery. RPC have not assigned it a separate catalogue number, but it is noted in the 2017 Addenda.

The reverse features Domitian 'son of the Augustus' togate as consul, holding an olive branch in a suggestion of peace. An interesting provincial dynastic type.

Richly toned in fine 'local' style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonAug 01, 2018
D847.jpg
Domitia RIC 847109 viewsAR Cistophorus
Rome mint (for Asia), 82 AD (Domitian)
RIC 847 (R). BMC 256. RSC 19. RPC 870 (8 spec.). BNC 226.
Obv: DOMITIA AVGVSTA; Bust of Domitia, draped r., hair massed in front and in long plait behind
Rev: VENVS AVG; Venus stg. r., leaning on column, with helmet and spear
Ex CNG E424, 11 July 2018, lot 471.

A brief issue of cistophori were struck for Domitia as Augusta under Domitian in 82. Venus leaning on column was the sole reverse type chosen for her rare cistophori. The style and six o'clock die axis point to Rome as the home mint. K. Butcher and M. Ponting's metal analysis reveal they were struck from a different stock of metal than contemporary Rome mint denarii, possibly from recycled older denarii. At 80% silver fineness these early cistophori were likely struck before Domitian's major coinage reform of 82 when the denarius was raised to nearly 100% fineness.

Domitia Longina was the daughter of the famed Roman general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo who was commanded to commit suicide by Nero for alleged treason. Domitian courted and married Domitia soon after Vespasian's accession, despite her already being the wife of Aelius Lamia. It was a good match - distancing the Flavians from the reign of Nero and uniting them to a beloved general's family. Soon after Domitian become emperor, Suetonius tells us he briefly divorced Domitia because of an adulterous affair she had with the actor Paris. Dio claims Domitian actually considered executing her but was persuaded from doing so by the praetorian prefect Ursus. He soon reunited with her after a brief separation alleging the people demanded it. Where this coin fits into that time frame is hard to tell. We don't know exactly when the divorce occurred or how long it lasted. However, it is likely this coin was struck after their reconciliation and can be seen as symbolically strengthening Domitia's position at court.

Struck in fine early style.
9 commentsDavid AthertonJul 25, 2018
V980var_.jpg
Vespasian RIC-980 (2)87 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Rome mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 980 (C). BMC 216 corr. RSC 216 corr. BNC 190 corr.
Obv: CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, right.
Rev: IMP XIX across field; Modius, standing on three legs, containing six ears of corn upright and two hanging over the sides
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, July 2018.

A rare and, to my knowledge, unique variant of the common modius type. Normally just five corn-ears are seen standing upright with two hanging over the sides, here there are six standing upright. This deviation from the stock design was perhaps an engraver's error or whim. The modius type celebrates the emperor's provision of free grain to all Roman citizens, certainly a most valuable propaganda type! Normally, Vespasian shared his reverse designs with Titus Caesar - the modius was not one of them, perhaps emphasising Vespasian's sole responsibility for the grain supply. Unusually, the type was not directly modelled from any coin designs struck in the past and was part of an agrarian series of denarius reverse types struck between 77 and 78.

A superb portrait and well centred strike.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 18, 2018
D16.jpg
Domitian RIC 1696 viewsAR Denarius, 3.43g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 16 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC 8.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: P P COS VII DES VIII; Seat, draped; above, semicircular frame decorated with three crescents
Acquired from Germania Inferior, June 2018.

Domitian seems to have been somewhat in a hurry to strike coins as Augustus after Titus' death in mid September 81 AD, presumably for a legionary donative. This denarius was struck before Domitian had been awarded the power of the tribunate (TR P) and pontifex maximus (PM). Here his only titles are Augustus (AVG), Imperator (IMP), Consul for the 7th time (COS VII), and pater patriae, father of the country (P 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. The religious ceremonies required for Domitian to assume the title pontifex maximus had not yet finished by this time either, here he is simply PONT, or in other words a member of the College of Pontiffs. Some have argued that PONT is the same as PM, I disagree. Titus as Caesar early on had also used the title PONT on his denarii and he was never pontifex maximus under Vespasian - only the emperor can be Pontifex Maximus or greatest priest. 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 days 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.

Dark cabinet toning with a stylish early portrait.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJul 11, 2018
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Vespasian RIC 43 (2)81 viewsAR Denarius, 3.14g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 43 (C2). BMC 50. RSC 43. BNC 36.
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: Above AVGVR, below, TRI POT; Simpulum, sprinkler, jug, and lituus
Acquired from Germania Inferior, June 2018.

The vast majority of denarii from this issue with the shortened obverse legend have a legend break above the portrait, normally seen between VE-SP or VES-P (see my other RIC 43). This is a rare variant without the break above the portrait. I suppose it was a whim of the engraver whether the legend was continuous or not. The reverse commemorates Vespasian being voted pontifex maximus by the Senate in November of 70, shortly after his arrival in Rome. It copies a type struck for Julius Caesar.

Workman-like portrait with beautiful gold toning and rainbow hints.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJul 04, 2018
V539.jpg
00 Domitian as Caesar RIC 53987 viewsAR Denarius, 3.17g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 539 (R). BMC 122. RSC 665. BNC -.
Obv: CAES AVG F DOMITIAN COS II; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: No legend; Domitian on horse l.; cloak flying out behind, r. hand raised, sceptre in l.
Acquired from NumisCorner, June 2018.

This is the first denarius struck at Rome for Domitian as Caesar. Fittingly, it commemorates Domitian's appearance at Vespasian and Titus' joint Jewish War Triumph - 'while taking part in the Judaean triumph, he rode on a white horse' (Suetonius, Domitian, ii), which was the normal conduct for a young prince on such occasions. The type was struck in three variants: firstly, with a clockwise obverse legend and DOMITIAN fully spelled out, as we see here. Secondly, it was shortened to DOMIT, with the legend still running clockwise. Lastly, the legend direction was changed to counter clockwise with DOMIT. The first two variants are quite rare, the last relatively common. On this coin we see a cloak flying out from behind Domitian. This interesting detail only appears on a few coins from the first variant and does not show up on subsequent issues of the type. Most likely this variant with the cloak was the earliest version of the type which was then quickly simplified by dropping the cloak all together.

Well centred in good early style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJun 26, 2018
V922aaa.jpg
03b Domitian as Caesar RIC 922100 viewsAR Denarius, 3.31g
Rome mint, 76-77 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 922 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: CAES AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS IIII; Pegasus, standing r.
Acquired from Marc Walter, May 2018. Ex Künker eLive Auction 37, 20 October 2015, lot 152.

A rare obverse legend variant of the Pegasus type struck for Domitian Caesar under Vespasian. Here we have 'CAES' instead of the much more common 'CAESAR'. No reverse die links between the two different obverses have been found, perhaps suggesting the 'CAES' issue came slightly later. Out of 240 Domitian Pegasus denarii on acsearch, only 6 have the 'CAES' obverse. The reverse copies a denarius struck for Augustus (RIC 297). Mattingly speculates it refers to Domitian's poetic aspirations.

Curtis Clay's comments concerning this variant - 'I had forgotten about this variety, but find that I had written into my BMC 193: Var. CAES for CAESAR, CNG Website 6247, May 2001 (2.78g). RIC new ed. 922 calls it R2 and cites examples in Glasgow (ill. pl. 10) and Oxford.'

Struck in the very finest of styles.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJun 19, 2018
V1085.jpg
07b Domitian as Caesar RIC 108588 viewsAR Denarius, 3.08g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1085 (R2). BMC p. 47 note. RSC 385. BNC 238.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Salus, stg. r., resting on column, feeding snake out of patera
Acquired from eBay, 10 June 2018.

A rare left portrait variant of the common Salus type struck for Domitian Caesar under Vespasian. The reverse may be an illusion to Vespasian's ill health preceeding his death on 24 June 79. No specimens in the BM's collection, citing the Paris collection. A double die match with the RIC plate coin.

Good style and well centred.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJun 14, 2018
D855c_(2)med.jpg
Domitian RIC-85566 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.28g
Rome mint (for Asia), 95 AD
RIC 855 (C). BMC p. 352, *. RSC 407. RPC 875 (2 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: Temple with two columns, inscribed ROM ET AVG in entablature, enclosing Augustus. stg. front to l., with spear, crowned by Roma to r., with cornucopiae; G in exergue
Acquired from Emerald Imports, eBay, May 2018.

A small issue of cistophori were struck by Domitian in 95. The style and six o'clock die axis point to Rome as the probable mint. Interestingly, K. Butcher and M. Ponting's recent metal analysis of the series reveals it was struck from a different stock of metal than contemporaneous denarii, possibly from recycled republican and early imperial pieces. This rare reverse features the temple of Roma and Augustus at Pergamum copied from the cistophori of Claudius. The temple was erected in 29 BC and was an important centre of the imperial cult in the region. No archaeological remains have been found of the structure, only the coins hint at how it may have appeared. RPC speculates the 'G' in exergue may be the mark of an officina, although, why the Rome mint would use a mint mark on the cistophori and not on any other issues is quite puzzling.

This coin originally came in a NGC slab which noted it as 'fine style'. I quite agree.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMay 30, 2018
V1432.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1432139 viewsAR Denarius, 3.29g
Ephesus Mint, 71 AD
RIC 1432 (R2). BMC p. 96, *. RSC 281. RPC 834 (2 spec.). BNC 354.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory adv. l., with wreath and palm; at lower l., EPHE
Acquired from Pavlos S. Pavlov, May 2018.

Victory advancing left was a commonly struck reverse type at Ephesus up until Vespasian's COS III issue. From this issue going forward, the mint favoured the Victory advancing right and sparingly struck the advancing left variant. As a matter of fact, the left Victory virtually disappears by the time the COS V issue was produced. So, a very rare type for COS III - just 2 Victory left specimens versus 14 right specimens cited in RPC.

Fabulous Ephesian style!

12 commentsDavid AthertonMay 23, 2018
D851.jpg
Domitian RIC-85173 viewsAR Cistophorus, 9.99g
Rome mint (for Asia), 95 AD
RIC 851 (C). BMC 253. RSC 94. RPC 873 (8 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII IMP XXII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS XVII CENS P P P; Aquila between two standards, one surmounted by a banner, the other by a hand; G in exergue
Ex NFC Coins, eBay, 18 April 2018.

A small issue of cistophori were struck by Domitian in 95. Style and die axis identify Rome as the home mint. Curiously, K. Butcher and M. Ponting's metal analysis reveal they were struck from a different stock of metal than contemporary denarii, possibly from recycled older denarii. The traditional military type of aquila and standards is the most commonly encountered reverse from the series. It is copied from coins struck for Nero and Galba. The 'G' in exergue may be the mark of an officina.

Struck in good late style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMay 16, 2018
RPC1652sm.jpg
RPC-1652-Vespasian69 viewsAR Drachm, 3.03g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 76-77 AD
RPC 1652 (3 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: TITOC AYTOKPATWP KAICAP ЄTO Θ; Titus in military dress, stg. facing, holding spear and sword
Ex Kölner 108, 7 April 2018, lot 131.

Vespasian's Cappadocian silver issues were struck in two distinct styles: Roman (six o'clock die axis) and 'local' (twelve o'clock die axis). Unsurprisingly, the Roman style coins were struck at Rome and sent to Cappadocia to help supplement the locally produced pieces. The majority of Cappadocia's silver coins were struck locally, very likely in Caesarea. Whether 'Roman' or 'local', all Cappadocian silver was produced at nearly 50% fineness. This rare drachm in 'local' style features Titus Caesar on the reverse in full military dress, perhaps a nod to his important role during the Jewish War. The type was struck for both didrachms and more sparingly for drachms. Only three specimens are cited by RPC II.

Worn, but nicely centred in fine 'local' style.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMay 09, 2018
RPC1936.jpg
RPC-1936-Vespasian98 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.41g
Antioch mint, 69 AD
RPC 1936 (2 spec.).
Obv : AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Bust of Vespasian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev : ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY A; Eagle standing r., on thunderbolt; in r. field, palm branch
Ex CNG E418, 11 April 2018, lot 403.

According to Tacitus, Vespasian immediately struck gold and silver coins at Antioch after being proclaimed emperor by the legions in the East (Hist. II, 82). This coin dated regnal year one at Antioch ( July - September 69) must have been one of the first coins to bear Vespasian's portrait. The style is indeed early, similar to the year ten Syrian tetradrachms coined for Nero. Although traditionally attributed to Antioch, the style is strongly Alexandrian. It almost certainly was struck at Alexandria for circulation in Syria along side a parallel Antiochene issue. The goatskin aegis seen here is rare for Vespasian and exclusively appears on these early Alexandrian style tetradrachms. The eagle standing on thunderbolt is also unique to this issue for Vespasian. Only one obverse die is known for this year one type.

Attractive example with good toning.

7 commentsDavid AthertonMay 01, 2018
D788Asm.jpg
Domitian RIC-788A105 viewsAR Denarius, 3.18g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 788A. BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r. with aegis
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Ex Dionysos Numismatik, eBay, 27 March 2018.

An extremely rare Domitian aegis portrait from 95/96, possibly the second known example with this reverse type. Domitian's aegis portraits on denarii were more commonly struck in 84 and 85, exceptionally so afterwards. The Rome mint was experimenting with new reverse designs and portrait types for the denarius issues during the last year of the reign. Perhaps the reintroduction of the aegis may have been part of this new programme? Of course we shall never know - Domitian's assassination in September 96 cut short any experimentation with his coinage. This rare variant only came to light recently and has been added to the RIC II.1 Addenda as RIC 788A.

Bold portrait and fine style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonApr 25, 2018
V1368sm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1368130 viewsAR Denarius, 3.60g
Uncertain mint, 69-71 AD
RIC 1368 (R2). BMC 419. RSC 221. BNC 378.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IMPER below; Vespasian riding l., r. hand raised
Ex Künker 304, 19 March 2018, lot 1085.

Fascinating coins often come out of civil war. In late October 69 the Second Battle of Cremona was fought between the legions of Vitellius and Vespasian. It resulted in the utter defeat of the Vitellian side and their slow retreat towards Rome. Not long afterwards the Spanish legions went openly for Vespasian, which up until that point had only been neutrally friendly toward him. Coins were quickly struck for Vespasian in the newly won province. Most of these are attributed to Tarraco and an unknown Spanish mint. Intriguingly, a small military issue was contemporaneously struck at an uncertain mint somewhere in the western empire - Mattingly thought perhaps Aquileia. The issue contains some stylistic affinities with the Spanish series, but more importantly, recent metal analysis by K. Butcher and M. Ponting show the silver content is almost identical to that of the Spanish coins. It is very likely these early military denarii were also struck in Spain in late 69 soon after the province went over to Vespasian.

Here we have an extremely rare denarius from that uncertain military issue showing Vespasian in military dress riding left in the act of addressing his troops. Clearly, this is a propaganda type that was produced to help consolidate the legions in a newly won province. The type occurs no where else and is unique to the series. The portrait bears no resemblance to Vespasian, which is further evidence of the coin's early mintage, perhaps pre-dating the other Spanish issues.

Struck in high relief on a large flan.
9 commentsDavid AthertonApr 17, 2018
V1409.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-140987 viewsAR Denarius, 2.59g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1409 (R2). BMC 442. RSC 66. RPC 818 (2 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue, horizontal Φ
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, March 2018.

The Ceres reverse type was consistently struck at Ephesus from 69 through 74. This scarce Group 3 example features an imperfectly struck Φ mintmark. The elaborate high back throne Ceres is seated upon distinguishes it from the Rome mint version of the type.

Struck in typical fine Ephesian style.
7 commentsDavid AthertonApr 04, 2018
RPC2424sm.jpg
RPC-2424-Vespasian88 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.17g
Alexandria mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 2424 (0 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYVEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laurerate, r., date LΓ before neck
Rev: PΩ-MH; Roma standing l., with spear and shield
Ex eBay, 7 March 2018.

A rare regnal year 3 Roma reverse. Only two specimens cited in RPC, none listed in the major collections. Roma had previously been featured on the Alexandrian coinage of Galba, although as a bust and not the standing figure seen here.

In good Alexandrian style with honest wear.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 28, 2018
V1464~0.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1464100 viewsAR Denarius, 3.49g
Ephesus mint, 74 AD
RIC 1464 (R2). BMC p. 99, †. RSC 68 corr. RPC 852 (5 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS V TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., annulet at tip of bust
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres, std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; below throne, annulet; in exergue, star
Ex Savoca, eBay, 2 March 2018.

A rare COS V Ephesian denarius notable for three control marks (one on the obverse, two on the reverse). Certain variants may have all three marks present but with different placements, lack one or two marks, or be any combination of the former and latter possibilities. I would assume the marks had something to do with the internal organisation of the mint's workshops. Also of note, this is the last denarius issue which can inarguably be attributed to Ephesus.

A bit off-centre, but in fine style.

8 commentsDavid AthertonMar 21, 2018
D334sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-33479 viewsAR Denarius, 3.11g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 334 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Ex Private Collection.

A rare denarius from the first issue struck after Domitian's second coinage reform. In 82 Domitian increased the silver fineness of the denarius to nearly 100% purity. Three years later in mid 85 the fineness was again adjusted, this time downward to nearly 90%, still higher than the average 80% inherited from Titus. Domitian assumed the powers of censor in April of 85 which was recorded on the coinage. The title was successively contracted in three issues - CENSORIA POTESTAT, CENS POTES, and CENS POT. According to metal analyses by Walker and more recently confirmed by Butcher and Ponting, Domitian's second coinage reform took place between the last two issues - the CENS POT issue being the first under the new standard. This was the last issue to regularly show Domitian denarii with aegis. From 85 onwards the aegis would only appear sparingly on special issues.

Fine style with large flan.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMar 14, 2018
V920sm.jpg
03 Domitian as Caesar RIC 92099 viewsAR Denarius, 2.96g
Rome mint, 76-77AD (Vespasian)
RIC 920 (R). BMC spec. acquired 1947. RSC 45b. BNC -.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS IIII; Minerva stg. r. on prow, with spear and shield; to r., owl
Ex Private Collection.

The first appearance of Minerva on a denarius struck for Domitian as Caesar under Vespasian. His devotion to the goddess came early in life, so it comes as no surprise he wished to honour her on the coins minted in his name. This denarius is a clear indication Domitian had some say in what reverse types were struck for him under Vespasian. The Minerva on prow is an early prototype of one of the four standard Minerva types (M2) Domitian would later extensively strike on his own denarii as Augustus. An extremely rare type for him as Caesar.

A pleasing coin with a Vespasian-like portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 13, 2018
D12.jpg
Domitian RIC 1272 viewsAR Denarius, 2.93g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 12 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: P P COS VII DES VIII; Dolphin coiled around anchor
Acquired from Marc Breitsprecher, January 2018.

A lot of interesting things are going on with this 81 AD Group 2 pulvinar denarius. Firstly, there is the rare 'PONT' obverse legend with DOMITIANVS fully spelled out. Secondly, an exceedingly rare reverse legend beginning with P P. And lastly, there is no TRP number. All of these elements combine together resulting in a very rare variant of a common type; as a matter of fact, this is the second known specimen! The new RIC II.1 was the first catalogue to publish this rare variant. Of note, my example is a reverse die match with the RIC 13 plate coin, which is the other rare dolphin/anchor variant from the group with the shorter DOMITIAN obverse legend.

NB: I am at a loss to explain why this issue lacks a TRP number, considering the previous issue (Domitian's first) records it.

Handsome, if a bit corroded.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMar 07, 2018
RPC2463a.jpg
RPC-2463-Titus114 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.61g
Alexandria mint, 79-80 AD
RPC 2463 (12 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK TITOY KAIΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY ΣEB; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: OMO-NOIA; Homonoia seated, l., with olive branch; date LB to l.
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, January 2018.

The first issue of Alexandrian tetradrachms for Titus were struck in regnal year 2, 29 August 79 - 28 August 80. They are not as plentiful as the regnal year 3 tetradrachms, perhaps indicating their production began in mid 80 and continued into the following regnal year. Three reverse types were initially coined for Titus - Euthenia, Homonoia, and Sarapis, none of which are carry-overs from Vespasian's tetradrachm issues. Butcher and Ponting have found Titus' tetradrachms were struck with near 19.5% silver fineness from recycled metals, consistent with the earlier issues minted for Vespasian.

Superb portrait of Titus, one of the best I've seen from this mint.
7 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 28, 2018
D585.JPG
Domitian RIC-585103 viewsAR Denarius, 3.04g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 585 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMAN P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Private Collection

This denarius is from a very common issue struck in 88 which is peppered with exceedingly rare variants. Here we have an obverse legend spelling of 'GERMAN' instead of the much more common 'GERM'. The experimental nature of the scarce variants perhaps ties them with the Secular Games which were held later the same year. After 88, new legends and reverse designs did not make another appearance on Domitian's denarius issues until the last year (or months) of his reign in 95-96.

Fine portrait on a broad flan.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 20, 2018
D555.JPG
Domitian RIC-55586 viewsAR Denarius, 2.88g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 555 (R2). BMC p. 325 note. RSC 233a. BNC 113.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS XIIII across field; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Private Collection.

88 AD was the year Domitian held the Secular Games and the Rome mint struck a series of denarii with reverses that explicitly commemorated the event. Additionally, the mint was experimenting with the denarius' standard Minerva reverse designs and legends. These special Minerva issues struck early in 88 may have a connection to the games as well. This denarius has the normal Minerva with spear (M4) but unusually has the consular date across field and lacks the IMP number. Denarii with the legends across field are very rare. It is a Reverse die match with the RIC plate coin, a good indication of how rare the type is.

A bit under weight, but in fine style and nicely centred.
5 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 13, 2018
D738a.jpg
Domitian RIC-738104 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 92 AD
RIC 738 (R2). BMC (spec. acquired 1990). RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Dionysos, eBay, January 2018.

This denarius is from a very rare issue struck towards the end of summer 92 and can be dated by the TR P XI and IMP XXII, an exceedingly rare combination. This series commemorating Domitian's 22nd imperial acclamation was most likely awarded for a victory against the Sarmatians and Suevi near the end of the campaigning season just before he became TR P XII on 14th September. The rarity of this dating combination indicates just how tight the window was for this issue. Perhaps struck for just a few fleeting weeks (or days).

A bit ragged, but in good metal and nicely centred.
5 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 07, 2018
T108aa.jpg
Titus RIC-108 (2)100 viewsAR Denarius, 3.26g
Rome mint, 80 AD
RIC 108 (C2). BMC 66. RSC 318. BNC 53.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P; Curule chair; above, wreath
Ex JW Harper Collection.

Most dies of this 'pulvinar' type depict the wreath sitting atop the chair unadorned. Here we see what appears to be some sort of semi-circular backing. Ben Damsky in his paper 'The Throne and Curule Chair types of Titus and Domitian' speculated the semicircle variant may be the result of a literal minded engraver who included the support device that held the wreath in place(!). I'm not quite sure what it is. Possibly it is just some sort added decoration. Regardless, it is a Rare variant of this common 'pulvinar' type. A quick scan of asearch.info turned up 80 specimens with an unadorned chair and only 7 with a semicircular 'frame'.

Well centred and good metal.
3 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 01, 2018
RPC1671.jpg
RPC-1671-Domitian43 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.22g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 93-94 AD
RPC 1671 (33 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAI ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOC ΓЄPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTO ΙΓ; Nike advancing r., holding wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
Ex Pegasi B152, 22 August 2017, lot 220 (unsold).

The style and six o'clock die axis strongly indicate this didrachm was struck in Rome for circulation in Cappadocia. Unsurprisingly, the portrait style is similar to contemporaneous denarii from Rome. Nike is one of the most common didrachm reverse types struck for the province by the Rome mint.

A worn piece, but in decent 'Roman' style.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJan 31, 2018
D333aa.JPG
Domitian RIC-333109 viewsAR Denarius, 3.19g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 333 (R2). BMC specimen acquired 1987. RSC 180. BNC 80.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT•P•P•; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Germania Inferior, January 2018.

In 82 Domitian increased the silver fineness of the denarius to nearly 100% purity. Three years later in mid 85 the fineness was again adjusted, this time downward to c. 90%, presumably for monetary or fiscal reasons. Domitian also assumed the powers of censor in April of 85 which was recorded on the coinage. The title was successively contracted in three issues - CENSORIA POTESTAT, CENS POTES, and CENS POT. According to metal analyses by Walker and more recently confirmed by Butcher and Ponting, Domitian's second coinage reform took place between the last two issues - the CENS POT issue being the first under the new standard. Curiously, this 'CENS POT' denarius has what appears to be 'al marco' weight adjustment marks, plainly visible on the reverse to the left of Minerva. Is it possibly during the minting of this first issue under the new standard the mint workers were extra careful with the coinage's weight? Whatever the case, the gouges must date to antiquity owing to the fact they are toned just as the unblemished surfaces are.

An extremely rare coin. Engraved in the period's typical fine style.

6 commentsDavid AthertonJan 24, 2018
D573.jpg
Domitian RIC-57389 viewsAR Denarius, 3.32g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 573 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG GERMAN P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•XIIII COS•XIIII CENS•P•P•P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from eBay, January 2018.

Very rare with 'GERMAN'. So rare in fact, Ian Carradice needed confirmation denarii existed with this spelling when he wrote Coinage and Finances In the Reign of Domitian in 1983. Since the publication of that work several examples have surfaced. The issue this denarius is from also features extremely rare aegis portraits. I think what we have here are the markings of a special issue, perhaps struck in conjunction with the Secular Games which were held the same year the special denarii were struck. The series also features many coins engraved in fine 'Flavian baroque' style, as clearly seen on this example.

Well centred and fine style.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJan 18, 2018
RPC1804.jpg
RPC-1804-Vespasian47 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.75g
Antioch mint (for Cyprus), 76-77 AD
RPC 1804 (14 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPATΩP OYЄCΠACIANOC KAICAP; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOY IЄPOY Θ; Zeus Salaminios standing facing, holding patera in r. hand, l. hand resting on a short sceptre; eagle on l. arm
Acquired from eBay, December 2017.

A small issue of tetradrachms were struck for Cyprus between 75 and 78. Style strongly indicates these are a product of the Antioch mint despite their Cypriot provenance. All of them are quite scarce compared with the large Syrian tetradrachm issues coined for Vespasian. This specimen from the second year of the Cypriot issue features the ethnic reverse type of Zeus Salaminios.

Some minor scrapes, but struck in good 'Cypriot' style.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJan 09, 2018
D769a.jpg
Domitian RIC-769110 viewsAR Denarius, 3.77g
Rome mint, 94 AD
RIC 769 (C). BMC 221. RSC 284a. BNC 197.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, December 2017. Ex G&N 14, 2 March 2017, lot 602.

Struck between mid September and 31 December. Although the frequency rating in RIC rates this denarius as 'common' it is a fairly rare dating combination, owing to the fact it was minted for just a few months.

Superb style and in fantastic condition.
6 commentsDavid AthertonDec 27, 2017
D118.jpg
Domitian RIC-11889 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.52g
Rome mint, 81- early 82 AD
RIC 118 (C). BMC 57. RSC 625. BNC 56.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PM; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST (anti-clockwwise, outwardly, from high l.); Victory std. l., with wreath and palm
Acquired from Dmitry Markov, December 2017.

This undated quinarius is part of Domitian's first issue of quinarii coined early in the reign. The style and silver fineness of 80% indicate it was struck before the great coinage reform of 82 when the silver fineness was increased to 99%. Probably the most common variant of the type from the issue, 'common' being a relative term here!

Darkly toned and in fine early style. Punch-mark(?) in obverse field.
7 commentsDavid AthertonDec 20, 2017
VBrockage.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-Unknown - Obverse Brockage100 viewsAR Denarius, 2.92g
Rome mint, 69-70 AD
RIC -. BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: Incuse of obverse
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, December 2017.

Based on style and obverse legend this brockage is from Vespasian's first denarius issues at Rome.
5 commentsDavid AthertonDec 12, 2017
V773sm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-773116 viewsAR Denarius, 2.89g
Rome Mint, 75 AD
RIC 773 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, bare, l.
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS VI; Pax, bare to the waist, seated l., holding branch extended in r. hand, l. hand on lap
Acquired from eBay, November 2017.

Here is an interesting situation of an extremely rare obverse paired with the most common reverse type ever struck for Vespasian's denarii. The Pax type with the common laureate right portrait was struck in vast quantities to commemorate the opening of the Temple of peace. The bare head left portraits are seen sparingly (Buttrey - 'Fleetingly') on the denarii of 75 and 76 exclusively with the seated Pax reverse. This denarius is the second known specimen of the exceedingly rare bare head COS VI Pax from 75. Unsurprisingly, it shares obverse dies with the unique specimen cited in RIC. The bare head portraits seem to have been the experimental work of one engraver operating at the mint in 75/76. Too bad this portrait variant didn't catch on, it has a delightfully attractive spare elegance.

Struck in fine style and in good metal.
7 commentsDavid AthertonDec 05, 2017
D26.jpg
Domitian RIC 2691 viewsAR Denarius, 3.53g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 26 (R). BMC spec. acquired 1987. RSC 63. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Dolphin coiled around anchor
Acquired from CGB, November 2017. Ex CGB Live Auction, 1 August 2017, lot brm_440753 (unsold).

An interesting denarius from Domitian's Group 3 denarii, a carry-over type from Titus' pulvinaria series. Curiously, the reverse legend lacks a TRP date (a title Domitian was awarded upon accession), yet it is matched with an obverse legend employed later in the year. This reverse legend is more appropriate chronologically paired with the early 'PONT' obverse dies with which it also shares a link. RIC notes the chronology is not precise with these issues from 81 and they are grouped only for 'convenience'. A possible explanation for such an odd legend pairing would be the mint workers continuing to use old reverse dies with newly engraved obverses. With that in mind, it is not surprising die links between Groups 2, 3, and 4 are known. Generally, denarii with the reverse legend lacking TRP are quite scarce - all of the types in the group have a frequency rating of rare or very rare. The dolphin and anchor reverse is probably the most common one in the issue.

A pleasing 'pinched' portrait in fine metal.
7 commentsDavid AthertonNov 29, 2017
RPC2471.jpg
RPC-2471-Titus 90 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.83g
Alexandria mint, 80-81 AD
RPC 2471 (5 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK TITOY KAIΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY ΣEB; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: OMO-NOIA; Homonoia seated, l.; date LΓ to l., star in r. field
Ex CNG E409, 8 November 2017, lot 463.

Alexandria struck tetradrachms for Titus dated either regnal year 2 (79-80 AD) or regnal year 3 (80-81 AD). No bronze coins were issued during his reign at Alexandria. The year 3 tetradrachms are separated into two different issues, those with a star in the reverse field, as seen on this example, and those without a star. They have an average fineness of around 19.5%. One wonders if Homonoia (Concordia) was a chosen reverse type because of continued intra-city tensions between the Greek and Jewish citizens of Alexandria.

Fine Alexandrian style with good eye-appeal.
8 commentsDavid AthertonNov 21, 2017
RPC1666.jpg
RPC-1666-Domitian87 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.38g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 93-94 AD
RPC 1666 (18 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAI ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOC ΓЄPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev : No legend; emperor in quadriga, r., holding laurel branch in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
Ex Lanz, eBay, November 2017.

This is a fairly rare Cappadocian didrachm of Domitian struck late in the reign. The pronounced 'Roman' style and six o'clock die axis are clear evidence it was produced in Rome for circulation in the province. Remarkably, this reverse is the only instance of Domitian in a quadriga that was struck in silver for either the imperial or provincial issues. Naturally, one may ask for what reason is Domitian triumphing here? In May 92 Domitian left Rome for a military campaign along the Danube against the Sarmatians known as the Second Pannonian war. The conflict lasted eight months and Domitian was back in Rome by January 93. He was awarded only an ovation but not a full triumph, so it is unclear what triumph this reverse refers to.

Struck in fine late Domitianic style.
7 commentsDavid AthertonNov 16, 2017
RPC1503.jpg
RPC-1503-Domitian52 viewsAR Drachm, 3.22g
Rome mint (for Lycia), 95 AD
RPC 1503 (2 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAIC ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOC ΓЄPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: ЄTOYC IΔ YPATOY IZ; Two lyres with owl perched on top
Ex Lanz, eBay, October 2017.

A small issue of drachms were struck by Domitian for Lycia in 95. The style and six o'clock die axis point to Rome as the home mint. These drachms were produced alongside Domitian's Roman style cistophori from the same year. Both issues share the same Macedonian silver content of 80% fineness. The drachms weighed about one third of a cistophorus and likely were valued accordingly. It is not known if the two denominations circulated together or separately. Because of the drachms similar weight and appearance with contemporary denarii, they appear in denarius hoards all over the empire and seemed to have circulated with them. Interestingly, this drachm has the traditional Lycian lyres along with Athena's owl, perhaps an appropriate nod to Domitian's favourite deity.

Old cabinet toning and fine late style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonNov 14, 2017
V1425a.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1425A92 viewsAR Denarius, 2.54g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD
RIC 1425A. BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory adv. l., with wreath and palm; at lower l., BY
Ex Savoca Coins, eBay, October 2017.

An unpublished Victory adv. left for Vespasian's Ephesian Group 5 denarii. A unique specimen with Victory adv. right is cited in RIC II.1 (RIC 1425) for the group. A second Victory left specimen, a double die match with mine, has been noted in Doug Smith's collection. With the appearance of these two coins both Victory types can now be attested for Group 5. Tentatively the type will be considered a variant of RIC 1425 until it is officially assigned a place in the upcoming Addenda. It should be noted that COS III denarii are seen much more commonly with the EPHE mintmark where both Victory types are already attested. Generally speaking, denarii dated COS III with the BY mintmark are so rare that Mattingly in BMCRE II doubted many of the standard Ephesian types existed for the group. However, he did note a COS III Victory left with an unclear mintmark, citing Cohen 279 (BMC II p. 94, note).

**Update** Ian Carradice has been informed of the type and has added it to the upcoming Addenda (31/10/2018).

Struck in fine Ephesian style.

4 commentsDavid AthertonNov 02, 2017
RPC1655_original.jpg
RPC-1655-Titus as Caesar64 viewsAR Drachm, 3.03g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 73-74 AD
RPC 1655 (2 spec.).
Obv: AYTO KAI OYЄCΠACIANOC CEBACTOY YIOC; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: NIKH CЄBACTH; Nike advancing r., wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
Acquired from eBay, October 2017.

Caesarea in Cacppadocia struck a fairly large issue of silver coins in 76/77 AD. There are two distinct styles: 'Roman' (with a 6 o'clock die axis) struck at Rome for circulation in Cappadocia, and 'local' (with a 12 o'clock die axis) struck at Caesarea. Drachms with the Nike type were struck for Titus Caesar in both Roman and local style. This coin is most certainly a Cappadocian produced piece based on style and the 12 o'clock die axis. It is slightly scarcer than the corresponding Rome issue. With a fineness near 48%, this drachm was overvalued against the denarius by 67%, assuming the two denominations were of equal value.

Fine local style and nicely toned.
4 commentsDavid AthertonOct 27, 2017
T104a.jpg
Titus RIC-10479 viewsAR Denarius, 3.15g
Rome Mint, 80 AD
RIC 104(R). BMC 40. RSC 306a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P; Captives, two, back to back, seated either side of trophy (man on l., woman on r.)
Ex Lanz, eBay, October 2017.

Rare variant of the two captives type with the male and female captives swapping places. The reverse commemorates an Agricolan British victory, perhaps the occasion when his legions reached the river Tay garnering Titus his 15th imperial acclamation. Some scholars in the past have attributed the reverse as a 'Judaea Capta' type, this is incorrect. The two captives echoes a Gallic victory type struck for Julius Caesar. The shields, like those on Caesar's denarii, are Celtic not Judaean in form. Additionally, H. Mattingly in BMCRE II correctly proposed the reverse alluded to a British victory.


Even though the coin is a bit worn it still has good eye appeal. Even wear and well centred.
2 commentsDavid AthertonOct 18, 2017
D816_(5)sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-81672 viewsAR Denarius, 2.73g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 816 (R2). BMC 243. RSC 175. BNC -.
Obv: DOMITIANVS AVG GERM; Head of Domitian, bare, bearded, r.
Rev: Temple, eight columns, seated figure in centre; IMP CAESAR on architrave
Ex Private Collection.

Domitian struck a rare undated issue of denarii depicting five different temples. Based on portrait style and the fact that Domitian's moneyers were experimenting with new reverse designs after 94, the issue has been dated to either 95 or 96. Four of the five temples have been identified - Serapis, Cybele, Minerva, and Capitoline Jupiter. The fifth type is an octastyle temple, as seen on the coin above, and its identification remains a mystery. Mattingly conjectured it could be the Temple of Divus Vespasian, P.V. Hill and D. Vagi thought it possibly the Temple of Jupiter Victor, R.H. Darwell-Smith speculated it is the Temple of Jupiter Custos, and M. Tameanko believed it to be the Temple of Divus Augustus. Tameanko makes the strongest case. Earlier renditions of the temple on the coinage under Caligula show it with a hexastyle facade. Domitian restored or rebuilt the temple after the fire of 80. His architect Rabirius may have completely overhauled the building in a more contemporary style producing an octastyle temple. Almost a hundred years later Antoninus Pius restored the temple again and struck a series of coins commemorating the event. His coins indeed depict an octastyle temple very much like the one seen on this denarius and may be proof that under Domitian the temple was rebuilt as an octastyle structure. However, until more evidence comes to light, the identification remains uncertain. Like Domitian's earlier Saecular Games series, the temple denarii were likely struck as a special issue, perhaps reflecting Domitian's new interest as builder. The remarkable bare headed portrait further enhances the issue as something special.

Needless to say it is a fantastically rare piece! Additionally, the eight column type may be the scarcest of the temple group, considering I have located only two other examples in trade over the last 15 years. The other two coins (OldRomanCoins 2002, HJB 145, lot 265) are obverse die matches with mine. Oddly, some specimens (BM 234 for example) lack IMP CAESAR on the architrave.

Worn, with some bumps and scrapes, but well-centred and in good style with plenty of eye appeal.
4 commentsDavid AthertonOct 10, 2017
D450sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-45078 viewsAR Denarius, 3.38g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 450 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIII COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Numismeo, September 2017.

In 86 Domitian was awarded imperial acclamations at an accelerated pace due to the Dacian War, which resulted in some fairly rare denarius issues. This coin is from the extremely rare fourth issue of 86, probably struck for just a few days or so until word of the next imperial acclamation reached the mint. The Minerva fighting (M1) and Minerva on rostral column (M2) are the only two denarius types known for the issue. The coins are so rare that Mattingly even doubted the issue's existence (BMCRE p. 320 note).

Struck in fine style on a large flan.
6 commentsDavid AthertonOct 04, 2017
V852.jpg
Vespasian RIC-852 (2)67 viewsAR Denarius, 3.25g
Rome mint, 76 AD
RIC 852 (C). BMC 184A. RSC 373. BNC 160.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS VII; Pax, bare to the waist, seated l., holding branch extended in r. hand, l. hand on lap
Ex eBay, September 2017.

Vespasian's seated Pax type is normally seen with a COS VI date, struck in conjunction with the opening of his Temple of Peace in 75 (probably Vespasian's most common denarius type). Here is a fairly rare COS VII seated Pax from 76. Owing to its rarity, the COS VII Pax could not have been struck for any length of time and likely dates to the first few weeks of 76 soon after Vespasian became COS VII on 1 January. Perhaps it was struck as a stop-gap until new reverse designs were produced and approved for the new year?

This coin is a considerable upgrade over the specimen I acquired in February 2017.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 26, 2017
D652a.jpg
Domitian RIC-65263 viewsAR Denarius, 2.93g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 652 (R2). BMC 145. RSC 243. BNC 138.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XVI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from NumisCorner, August 2017.

Domitian was acquiring imperial acclamations at a rapid pace in late 88 due to intense military activity in Germania and Dacia. The coins record the successive acclamations quite meticulously. Here is a very rare coin dated with his 16th imperial acclamation. Domitian was awarded his 17th imperial acclamation by 7 November, so this coin was struck at some point before then, perhaps for just a few days judging by the rarity of the title. We do not know what long lost victory the 16th salutation was awarded for, all that remains are the coins recording it. A reverse die match with the BM specimen, perhaps further evidence of its rarity.

Struck in good metal and nicely centred.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 21, 2017
V1396a.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-139672 viewsAR Denarius, 3.15g
Rome mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1396 (R2). BMC 431. RSC 280b. RPC 806 (2 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory, advancing l., holding wreath in extended r. hand and palm curving up in l.
Acquired from Pars Coins, September 2017. Ex Hirsch 326, 16 February 2017, lot 1924. Ex Savoca Live Auction 9, 21 August, 2016, lot 532.

Ephesus struck a small issue of denarii for Vespasian between 69 and 74. The vast majority of these Ephesian denarii have a mintmark of one sort or another. Those without one are preciously rare.
The earliest and rarest are undated with no mint mark and were minted in late 69 or early 70. This unmarked type with Victory on the reverse has been a most elusive one to acquire! Very scarce in trade.

Struck in fine Ephesian style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 19, 2017
D56best2.jpg
Domitian RIC 5684 viewsAR Denarius, 3.22g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 56 (R2). BMC p. 299, ‡. RSC 560a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex eBay, September 2017.

Here is a rare Domitian 'PONT' denarius with the legend variant of DOMITIANVS fully spelled out. Denarii with 'PONT' instead of PM in the obverse legend come very early in the reign. Historically, PONT did not stand for Pontifex Maximus under Augustus, but did so under Nero (PONT was used after Nero was already Pontifex Maximus, BMC 9). It is possible Domitian followed Nero's example and used PONT as an abbreviation for Pontifex Maximus. Conversely, it is also possible he followed in Augustus' footsteps and used the temporary title 'PONT' until the ceremony electing him to the position was completed. We simply do not know. The records of the Arval brothers do not show Domitian as Pontifex Maximus by 30 October, so presumably he acquired the title in either November or December. The office seems to have had no fixed date of appointment. Knowing how much of a stickler Domitian was to keeping to the proper forms, the mint likely waited until his election as Pontifex Maximus before the title was displayed on the coinage. Whether or not that title on the coinage after the election was abbreviated as 'PONT' for a brief time is a mystery.

Struck in fine early style with a well centred obverse.
6 commentsDavid AthertonSep 14, 2017
V794e_zpsyafi2d8j~original.jpg
Vespasian RIC-79468 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.36g
Rome mint, 75(?) AD
RIC 794 (C). BMC -. RSC 614. BNC 254.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTI; Victory adv. r., with wreath and palm
Acquired from Traianvs Coins, September 2017.

Vespasian's moneyer's struck a great issue of undated quinarii in 75, possibly in conjunction with the opening of his Temple of Peace. Two standard Victory types (seated and advancing) were employed along with various variant legend spellings and orientations. The variations are: obverse legend - VESPASIANVS or less commonly VESPASIAN; reverse legend - AVGVSTI or less commonly AVGVST. The reverse legend can also either be oriented from low r. or high l. This coin is considered one of the more 'common' variants with VESPASIANVS in the obverse legend and AVGVSTI in the reverse, oriented from low r. Even so, it is a very rare piece, as are all Flavian quinarii compared with the denarii.

Struck on a large flan and in good mid-period style with the small portrait head.
4 commentsDavid AthertonSep 12, 2017
D597aab.JPG
Domitian RIC-597116 viewsAR Denarius, 2.60g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 597 (R2). BMC 133 var. RSC - (cf. 77a). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC; Herald adv. l., with wand and shield
Acquired from Michael Trenerry, August 2017.

An extremely rare example of the Secular Games herald denarius with portrait head left. Probably the fifth recorded specimen. Obverse die match with the RIC plate coin.

Somewhat worn, but nicely centred and in fine style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonSep 05, 2017
D599.jpg
Domitian RIC-59993 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.61g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 599 (C2). BMC 134. RSC 78. BNC 122.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC; Herald adv. l., with wand and shield
Ex CNG E404, 23 August 2017, lot 504. Ex Helios 1, 17 April 2008, lot 248 (The Frank L. Kovacs Collection).

Unusually, this quinarius lacks the de rigueur Victory on the reverse, instead we have an interesting historical type of a Herald announcing Domitian's Ludi Saeculares. This was the only saeculum type struck on his quinarii. The games were held in 88 following the Augustan cycle. Presumably this piece was struck for commemorative purposes in conjunction with the games. RIC places the frequency rating for this type as 'very common' (C2), however, this seems a bit over generous. Perhaps a rating of 'common' (C) would be more appropriate. The upcoming RIC II.1 Addenda notes the frequency discrepancy, citing C. Clay's concern that only nineteen specimens are in King's survey of Roman quinarii.

A lovely piece with dark toning and fine style.
8 commentsDavid AthertonAug 29, 2017
T388aa.jpg
Julia Titi RIC 38888 viewsAR Denarius, 3.09g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
RIC 388 (C2). BMC 142. RSC 14. BNC 106.
Obv: IVLIA AVGVSTA TITI AVGVSTI F•; Bust of Julia Titi, draped and diademed, r., hair in long plait
Rev: VENVS AVGVST; Venus stg. r., leaning on column, with helmet and spear
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, August 2017.

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

Struck on a large flan in decent style.

8 commentsDavid AthertonAug 24, 2017
D688a.JPG
Domitian RIC-68847 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 89 AD
RIC 688 (C2). BMC 163. RSC 255. BNC 156.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Numisbur (eBay), August 2017.

In 88 and 89, due to increased military campaigns in Germania and Dacia, imperial acclamations were being awarded to Domitian at a quick pace culminating in a double triumph the Senate voted Domitian over the chatti and Dacians at the end of 89. The rapid succession of titles was meticulously recorded on his denarii. This denarius dates between mid September and 31 December 89. Domitian's double triumph was held while this issue was struck.

Good style portrait typical of the period.
3 commentsDavid AthertonAug 16, 2017
T517.jpg
Domitian as Caesar RIC-517114 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.77g
Rome mint (for Asia), 80-81 AD (Titus)
RIC 517 (R). BMC 150. RSC 95. RPC 862 (6 spec.). BNC 112.
Obv: CAES DIVI F•DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: DIVO VESP across field; Altar shrine
Acquired from NumisCorner, July 2017.

A fairly scarce Domitian Caesar cistophorus struck under Titus. The reverse honours the divine Vespasian and shows what catalogues have traditionally called a 'large altar' - in fact what the reverse depicts is a shrine in the shape of an altar. The doors, columns, and steps are strong evidence that what we are seeing is a building and not an altar. How the shrine related to the Temple of the Divine Vespasian is unknown.

Struck in good metal and fine Roman style.
9 commentsDavid AthertonAug 09, 2017
T359_error.JPG
Vespasian-RIC-359a Engraver's Error75 viewsAR Denarius, 2.92g
Rome Mint, 79-80 AD (Titus)
RIC 359a (C). BMC 124. RSC 149. BNC 98.
Obv: DIVVS AVGVSPVS (sic) VESPASIANVS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: Column mounted by shield and topped by urn, flanked by two laurels; in field, EX, on shield, S C
Ex Private Collection.

A Divus Vespasian denarius struck by Titus with an interesting engraver's error in the obverse legend - 'P' instead of 'T' in AVGVSTVS. Almost certainly unique to this one die. The style and weight are good - so, an official product of Rome.

Worn, but all the major devices are intact.
2 commentsDavid AthertonAug 02, 2017
V1547a.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1547103 viewsAR Denarius, 3.59g
Antioch mint, 72-73 AD
RIC 1547 (R2). BMC 498. RSC 588. RPC 1921 (2 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: VICTORIA AVG; Victory stg. r., on globe, with wreath and palm
Ex Nomos Obolos 7, 9 July 2017, lot 313.

An exceptionally rare denarius from Antioch - it is only the eighth known example (the others are: BM, Vienna, Tom Cederlind 2007, Helios 4, Gemini X, CNG E339, Lanz eBay 2017). This left facing portrait is unique in the Antiochene denarius issues, as well as the only appearance of Victory on globe in the series. Butcher and Ponting's metal analysis of the type found a silver bullion content of 99% - a remarkable level of fineness for an imperial or provincial issue at that time. The portrait style is identical to the Antiochene tetradrachms with the left facing portraits and eagle on base reverses struck somewhat contemporaneously in 71-72. This is strong evidence that the same die engravers were producing both imperial and provincial issues at Antioch.

A stunning portrait in ultra-high relief.
9 commentsDavid AthertonJul 25, 2017
RPC1646a.jpg
RPC-1646-Vespasian48 viewsAR Drachm, 3.09g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 74-75 AD
RPC 1646 (2 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄYOYC ЄBΔOMOY; Mt Argaeus; on summit, radiate figure standing l., globe in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
Ex London Ancient Coins Auction A1, 3 July 2017, lot 45.

A fairly rare drachm from Caesarea, Cappadocia. Struck in 'local' style with a 12 o'clock die axis. Ironically, the Mt. Argaeus type is more commonly seen in 'Roman' Style.

Worn, but the major devices are still intact.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 18, 2017
T516.jpg
Titus RIC-516146 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.55g
Rome mint (for Asia), 80-81 AD
RIC 516 (R). BMC 149. RSC 398. RPC 861 (4 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: Aquila between two standards, one surmounted by a banner, the other by a hand
Ex CNG E400, 28 June 2017, lot 609.

A small issue of Asian cistophori were struck under Titus in 80 or 81 AD. Style and the six o'clock die axis point to Rome as the likely mint. Two types were coined for Titus - Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Aquila between two standards. These are the only coins of Titus that are identifiable as being struck after the fire of 80 since one of the types commemorates the restoration of the Capitoline Temple. The issue continued into Domitian's reign with the same two reverse types. The fact that Titus' cistophori are much rarer than those of Domitian may indicate they were struck near the end of Titus' reign in 81 rather than 80. The aquila between two standards copies similar reverse types from Nero's denarii and the bronze of Galba. The portraits on Titus' cistophori are in the same style as his pulvinaria denarii.

Struck in fine Roman style. Golden toned with hints of a rainbow hue.
11 commentsDavid AthertonJul 11, 2017
D40.jpg
Domitian RIC 40109 viewsAR Denarius, 3.17g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 40 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Altar, garlanded and lighted
Acquired from London Ancient Coins, June 2017.

An early rare 'PONT' denarius struck towards the end of 81. The abbreviation 'PONT' for Ponitfex Maximus must have come early in the sequence of titles Domitian employed on his denarii and likely was short lived if its rarity is any indication. The records of the Arval brothers do not show Domitian as Pontifex Maximus by 30 October, so presumably he acquired the title in either November or December. Interestingly, the obverse legend displays the Greek influenced 'Y' instead of 'V', perhaps evidence of a Greek engraver's handiwork. The altar on the reverse is a carry-over pulvinaria type struck for Domitian as Caesar under Titus, perhaps representing the pulvinar of Vesta and Vulcan.

A sharp VF denarius struck when the dies were fresh. Good early style.

7 commentsDavid AthertonJul 04, 2017
T91.jpg
Titus RIC 9192 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.55g
Rome mint, 79-80 AD
RIC 91 (C). BMC 108. RSC 356. BNC 87.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST (clockwise, inwardly, from low l.); Victory adv. r., with wreath and palm
Ex CNG E399, 14 June 2017, lot 486.

Titus struck a small undated issue of quinarii, most of which are fairly rare. This traditional Victory type is copied from quinarii minted by Vespasian.

Struck in a fine and neat style, typical of the mint during this period.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJun 29, 2017
RPC1941_(2).jpg
RPC-1941-Vespasian67 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.19g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1941 (2 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: (T) ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠ KAIΣ ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY; Laureate Head of Titus, r.; in r. field, B
Acquired from Agora Numismatics, June 2017.

A RPC group 2 tetradrachm attributed to Antioch, but style wise very similar to Alexandria. RPC speculates the Alexandria style tetradrachms were either struck in Alexandria and then shipped to Antioch, or less likely Alexandrian mint workers were sent to Antioch and produced the coins there. Kevin Butcher speculates these Alexandria style tetradrachms were ordered by the southern Syrian cities from the Alexandria mint for circulation in that part of the province. Of note, Galilee, Samaria, and Judaea were a part of the province of Syria at the time. Interestingly, these tetradrachms in which Titus' portrait is featured on the reverse may have been circulating in the very region where he commanded the legions fighting the Jewish War. Most likely they were struck during the massive military build up before the siege of Jerusalem, providing strong evidence of the important role Titus Caesar held at the time.

This regnal year 2 type is more commonly seen with a star behind Titus' portrait on the reverse. This is the rarer variant lacking the star.

Struck in superb 'Alexandria' style. Normally these come much cruder.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 19, 2017
V848asm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-848 (2)98 viewsAR Denarius, 3.34g
Rome mint, 76 AD
RIC 848 (C). BMC 184. RSC 120. BNC 154.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: COS VII across field; Eagle head l. standing on thunderbolt, on Altar. Very uncommon with thunderbolt showing.
Ex Solidus Numismatik Online-Auction 15, 22 May 2017, lot 172.

The more common variant of the type missing thunderbolt in eagle's claws. Somewhat rare with head left.

Worn, but in good style and fine metal.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJun 13, 2017
RPC1803.jpg
RPC-1803-Vespasian54 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.09g
Antioch mint (for Cyprus), 75-76 AD
RPC 1803 (17 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPATΩP OYЄCΠACIANOC KAICAP; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOY IЄPOY; Temple of Aphrodite at Paphos, in which conical xoanon; in exergue, H
Ex Pegasi Numismatics VAuctions 36, 23 May 2017, lot 324

Antioch struck a small issue of tetradrachms and didrachms for Cyprus in the mid 70s AD. The reverse types are typically ethnic, such as this coin's depiction of the Temple of Aphrodite at Paphos struck in 75 or 76. The famous temple figures prominently in Flavian lore as the place where Titus Caesar received a favourable oracle from the priest Sostratus prior to Vespasian's bid for the purple. The island experienced a devastating earthquake in late 77 or early 78 that destroyed three of her major cities. The temple shown on the coin was destroyed as well, but was soon lavishly rebuilt in a similar design.

A remarkable portrait in fine 'Antiochene' style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 06, 2017
RPC1636.jpg
RPC-1636-Vespasian121 viewsAR Drachm, 3.04g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 73-74 AD
RPC 1636 (6 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄYOYC ЄKTOY; Mt Argaeus; on summit, radiate figure standing l., globe in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
Ex Bertolami E-Live auction 41, 30 April 2017, lot 259.

The mint at Rome struck silver drachms and didrachms for circulation in Cappadocia. They normally can be distinguished from the local issues by style and their 6 o'clock die axis (local is 12 o'clock). Here we have a Rome mint drachm in good style featuring a reverse that would be appealing to the provincials it is intended for. Oddly, the die axis is 12 o'clock. It's a double die match with Paris 258 (RPC plate coin), I wonder if it too has the incorrect die axis?

Strabo described the mountain as such: It's 'the highest of mountains whose peak is constantly covered with snow ...given good visibility, anyone who climbs this mountain - and not many do- are supposed to see both seas, the Pontus and the Issikos'.

The above reverse perhaps does not relay the grandeur of the actual peak, possibly being a representation of a cult picture, or agalma, of the mountain - but it's a fascinating reverse type produced by Roman engravers who may never have laid eyes on the beautiful volcano.

Although a bit under weight, struck in fine 'Roman' style and good metal.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 01, 2017
RPC2405.jpg
RPC-2405-Vespasian67 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 11.86g
Alexandria mint, 69 AD
RPC 2405 (6 spec.).
Obv: AYT TIT ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠAΣIAN KAIΣ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LA before neck
Rev: ΦΛΑΥΙ ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΣ ΚΑΙΣ; laureate and cuirassed bust of Titus, r.
Ex Heritage Auctions, eBay, May 2017.

Struck in July/August 69, this is the rarest tetradrachm type for Vespasian's regnal year one at Alexandria. The reverse featuring Titus Caesar is no doubt a nod both to his importance as Vespasian's heir and his new role as supreme commander of the legions suppressing the Jewish Revolt.

Worn, but in good Alexandrian style with the portraits still intact.
1 commentsDavid AthertonMay 30, 2017
V861.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 861 (1)84 viewsAR Denarius, 3.33g
Rome mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 861 (C). BMC 191. RSC 59. BNC 166.
Obv: T CAESAR IMP VESPASIAN; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS V across field; Eagle head l. standing on thunderbolt, on Altar. Very uncommon with thunderbolt showing.
Acquired from Sphinx Numismatics, May 2017.

The more uncommon variant of the type showing the eagle clutching a thunderbolt in its talons.

A decent denarius with the 'large head' portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMay 23, 2017
T124asm.jpg
Titus RIC-124A114 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Rome mint, 80 AD
RIC 124A (R3). BMC 61. RSC 313a. BNC 49.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, triangular frame with five palmettes, lituus within triangle
Acquired from eBay, May 2017.

A rare variant of the common seat with triangular frame 'pulvinar' type showing a lituus within the triangle. The upcoming RIC II.1 Addenda notes that some specimens of the 3 and 9 palmettes variants show a lituus - with this coin we can now see the 5 palmettes variant does as well.

*Update - This type with lituus has been assigned its own unique RIC number - 124A.*

This denarius was struck possibly to commemorate the religious ceremonies connected to the opening games of the Colosseum.

Despite the wear, a good, solid denarius.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMay 19, 2017
V1477A.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1477A131 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD
RIC 1477A (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., a small 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS VII (from high l.); Winged caduceus

A unique specimen of the caduceus type from the rare and mysterious 'o' mint. This rare variant has the reverse legend starting from the upper left, all other known examples start from the lower right. I informed Ted Buttrey of the coin and he has assigned it 1477A in the upcoming RIC II.1 Addenda.

Struck in good style on a large flan.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMay 09, 2017
D72c.jpg
Domitian RIC 72101 viewsAR Denarius, 3.15g
Rome Mint, 81 AD
RIC 72 (R2). BMC -. RSC 575a. BNC -.
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; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt
Ex Münzhandlung Dirk Löbbers (eBay), April 2017.

The reverse is a carry-over pulvinaria type from Titus' coinage with an added touch of filial piety on the obverse. The 'DIVI VESP F' in the obverse legend is a scarce variant not often seen on Domitian's denarii. To date, this is only the second denarius with this legend variant I've been able to obtain.

Sharp details and in good early style.


6 commentsDavid AthertonMay 02, 2017
T124.jpg
Titus RIC-124c (2)86 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome Mint 80 AD
RIC 124c (C2). BMC 62. RSC 313a. BNC 50.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, triangular frame with nine palmettes, lituus within triangle
Acquired from M. Veissid & Co. (eBay), April 2017.

A rare variant of this common 'pulvinar' type showing a lituus within the triangle. Perhaps one in ten dies have this variant. The upcoming RIC II.1 Addenda notes that some specimens may show a lituus.

This denarius was struck possibly to commemorate the religious ceremonies connected to the opening games of the Colosseum.

Nice bull-necked portrait struck on a large flan and well centred. One of my favourite portrait types.
4 commentsDavid AthertonApr 25, 2017
V945.jpg
Vespasian RIC-945 Mule103 viewsAR Denarius, 3.22g
Rome Mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 945 (R3, this coin). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: COS VI in ex.; Pair of Oxen, under yoke, l.
Acquired from Celeste Jones Mining, April 2017. Ex CGB Monnaies 21, 18 June 2004, lot 2387.

A unique mint mule with an obverse of Vespasian combined with a reverse from Titus Caesar's parallel issue. Vespasian was COS VIII when the coin was struck in 77/78, so the reverse title is quite impossible. This specimen is cited in RIC, apparently the only one recorded. A combination of a rare left facing Vespasian portrait with the rare yoked oxen type for Titus Caesar makes it unlikely another specimen will turn up any time soon. The yoked oxen reverse copies a Republican denarius struck by L. Cassius Caecianus, Crawford 321/1. Possibly a 'colonist' or general agricultural type.

In very fine condition and good style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonApr 19, 2017
D444a.jpg
Domitian RIC-444148 viewsAR Denarius, 2.92g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 444 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Ancient Treasures (eBay), April 2017.

Second known M1 specimen from the third issue of 86. This rare dating combination could not have been struck for very long after Domitian became TR P VI in mid September due to the the issue's extreme rarity. In fact, the final 'I' in the obverse legend appears to have been engraved over the tip of the bust, indicating it is a reworked TR P V die. Not long after this coin was struck (perhaps just a few days) word reached the mint of Domitian's thirteenth imperial acclamation, ending this issue's brief run.

Nicely toned with a very fine style portrait.
8 commentsDavid AthertonApr 14, 2017
T124bb.jpg
Titus RIC-124b71 viewsAR Denarius, 3.43g
Rome mint, 80 AD
RIC 124b (C2). BMC 61. RSC 313a. BNC 49.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, triangular frame with three palmettes

The triangular frame on square seat pulvinaria type comes in three different variants: RIC 124a with five palmettes, RIC 124b with three palmettes (the rarest of the three variants), and RIC 124c with nine palmettes. This 124b is a reverse die match with the RIC 125 plate coin, a left facing portrait variant of the type.

In good style with a neat and fine portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonApr 11, 2017
T119A.png
Titus RIC-119A89 viewsAR Denarius, 3.31g
Rome Mint, 80 AD
RIC 119A. BMC 51 var. RSC 316. BNC 43 var.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M•; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, thunderbolt
Acquired from Yesterday's Change, March 2017.

In the new RIC II this type is described as having a 'winged thunderbolt' above the seat. However, it is sometimes seen with a 'wingless thunderbolt'. The upcoming RIC II Addenda takes note of this and has assigned the wingless type its own catalogue number - RIC 119A.

This denarius is part of a series that was struck for the lectisternium (religious ceremony) celebrating the opening of the Colosseum in 80 AD. Each god had its own sacred couch, in Latin they are known as 'pulvinaria', brought out in pairs in the Forum or some such public space. The series commemorates these sacred couches which were set out with 'exuviae' (emblems) representing the gods. The above coin most likely shows the 'pulvinar' of Jupiter and Juno.

Struck slightly off-centre in average style with nice 'cabinet toning'.
2 commentsDavid AthertonApr 05, 2017
V1561.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC-1561 (2)85 viewsAR Denarius, 3.24g
Antioch Mint, 72-73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1561 (C). BMC 516. RSC 122. RPC 1933 ( 14 spec.). BNC 321.
Obv: T CAES IMP VESP PON TR POT; Bust of Titus, laureate, draped, bearded, r.
Rev: NEP RED; Neptune stg. l., foot on globe, with acrostolium and sceptre
Acquired from Dr Busso Peus Nachfolger, March 2017.

The Neptune type was struck for Vespasian and Titus Caesar at both Rome and Antioch. Likely, it was commemorating their recent sea voyages and safe return to Rome.

I previously acquired a double struck specimen from Harry Sneh 7 years ago that has a few condition issues. Comparatively speaking, I think my new coin is a significant upgrade. Struck on a tight flan, but in good metal and fine style.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMar 29, 2017
V19f.jpg
Vespasian RIC 19 (2)135 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome mint, January - June 70 AD
RIC 19 (C). BMC 7. RSC 84. BNC 7.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER FORT RED; Fortuna, draped, standing l.,setting r. hand on prow and holding cornucopiae in l. hand
Ex eBay, March 2017.

Early in Vespasian's reign the Rome mint had a hard time getting his portrait right because he spent the balance of his first year as emperor in Egypt. There is a wide variation in portrait types and styles until the mint was able to procure a suitable portrait bust. Some, such as the one on this common Fortuna type, are unmodified Vitellius portraits. Certainly this denarius was one of the first coined for Vespasian at the mint.

A strikingly unusual portrait struck on a large flan.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMar 27, 2017
T389.jpg
Julia Titi RIC 38994 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
RIC 389 (R). BMC p. 144 note. RSC 16. BNC 108.
Obv: IVLIA IMP T AVG F AVGVSTA•; Bust of Julia, draped, r., hair piled high in front and knotted low at back
Rev: VESTA in exergue; Vesta std. l., with palladium and sceptre

Titus struck a small issue of denarii for his daughter Julia Titi, most of which are fairly scarce. This Vesta reverse type is much rarer than the more commonly encountered Venus one. Julia is seen here sporting the classic Flavian lady hairdo.

Worn, but not unattractively so.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMar 22, 2017
V1397ccc.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1397128 viewsAR Denarius, 3.29g
Ephesus mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1397 (R). BMC p. 89,†. RSC 291. RPC 807 (5 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI ORB TERR AVG; Turreted and draped female bust, r.
Acquired from NB Numismatics, March 2017. Ex VAuctions 292 (Imperial Coins), 6 December 2012, lot 130.

The first denarius issue at Ephesus was struck without mint marks and all of them are quite rare. This particular denarius has a peculiarly crude style compared with other Ephesian denarii. RIC II.1 authors Carradice and Buttrey comment about this coin in the introduction on p. 8 - 'a recent example seen in trade (Imperial Coins 2004) had the correct legend (and good weight for a denarius, at 3.29g) but a very different, inferior style on both the obverse and reverse. Is such a coin a barbarous imitation, or simply the product of a less able die-engraver employed at the start of a mint's output?' Curiously, the RIC plate coin of this same type from Oxford is in a similarly crude style. Interesting to note that Mattingly in BMCRE II doubted the type existed without mint mark, which indicates how rare it is!

Struck on a small flan in high relief.

7 commentsDavid AthertonMar 14, 2017
V21.jpg
Vespasian RIC 21 (2)57 viewsAR Denarius, 2.82g
Rome Mint, January - June 70 AD
RIC 21 (C). BMC 17. RSC 94a. BNC 10.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER TR POT; Aequitas, draped, standing l., holding scales in r. hand, transverse rod in l.
Acquired from Ars Coin Wein, February 2017.

The coin was likely struck in the early weeks of Vespasian's reign, which would account for the Vitellian-like portrait. The mint's engravers probably did not have a bust of Vespasian to work from and so produced a modified portrait of the previous emperor. With Vespasian still in Egypt, understandably the mint's engravers had a hard time figuring out his portrait ... at least until someone sent a portrait bust to the mint.

Good metal and unusual style.
1 commentsDavid AthertonMar 09, 2017
D52sm.jpg
Domitian RIC 5274 viewsAR Denarius, 2.62g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 52 (R2). BMC p. 299, ||. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Dolphin coiled around anchor
Ex Lanz (eBay), February 2017.

Nothing more quite shows how much of a stickler Domitian was for keeping to the letter of the law than the 'PONT' denarii struck very early in his reign. Domitian would not call himself by the full title Pontifex Maximus until the proper religious ceremonies voting him as such were concluded. The PONT denarii provide numismatic evidence for Suetonius' claim that Domitian scrupulously observed the proper formalities (Dom. VII - IX). The coins themselves are quite rare, struck in a brief window of time while Domitian was being awarded his full titles.The resulting sequence of titles is quite fascinating!

Interestingly, the 'V' in AVG here looks more like a 'Y'. Some have speculated that this shows evidence of a Greek engraver working at the mint early in Domitian's reign.

Struck in good metal with a minor flan crack.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMar 08, 2017
RPC1645a.jpg
RPC-1645-Vespasian82 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.39g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 76-77 AD
RPC 1645 (4 spec.).
Obv: AVTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ΔOMITIANOC KAICAP CЄB YIO ЄT Θ; Domitian standing, l., holding branch
Ex Savoca Coins, eBay, February 2017.

A fairly large issue of silver coins were struck for Cappadocia in 76/77 AD. There are two distinct styles: "Roman" (6 o'clock die axis) struck at Rome for Cappadocia , and "local" (12 o'clock die axis) struck at Caesarea. Both issues were struck at the same time and used the same reverse types. Here is a 'Roman' style didrachm of the Domitian Caesar reverse type. The coins from Rome are far less common than those coined in Cappadocia, so it appears the Rome issues were struck to 'top off' the supply of coins to the province. The issue shows a high degree of coordination between the imperial and provincial authorities. The reverse of Domitian Caesar is considered a 'dynastic' type and indicates the importance Vespasian held for his youngest son, despite what the senatorial historians had to say.

Struck in strong Roman style. A lovely coin in hand.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMar 01, 2017
V852sm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-852 (1)141 viewsAR Denarius, 2.89g
Rome mint, 76 AD
RIC 852 (C). BMC 184A. RSC 373. BNC 160.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS VII; Pax, bare to the waist, seated l., holding branch extended in r. hand, l. hand on lap
Acquired from Wessex Coins (eBay), February 2017.

This seated Pax type is normally seen with a COS VI date, struck in conjunction with the opening of Vespasian's Temple of Peace in 75 (probably Vespasian's most common denarius type). Here is a fairly rare COS VII seated Pax from 76. The COS VII Pax could not have been struck for any length of time and likely dates to the first few weeks of 76 owing to its rarity. Furthermore, the reverse die appears to be a recut COS VI with an additional 'I', likely placing the piece soon after Vespasian became COS VII on 1 January 76. Perhaps this type was struck as a stop-gap until new reverse designs were produced and approved for the new year. Same reverse die as the RIC 853 plate coin. Although rated as 'common' in RIC this is a very difficult coin to find in trade.

Worn, but in good metal with all the major devices intact. The all important date is easy to read.
4 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 22, 2017
T387a.jpg
Julia Titi RIC 387130 viewsAR Denarius, 3.22g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
RIC 387 (R). BMC 140. RSC 12. BNC 103.
Obv: IVLIA AVGVSTA T AVG F•; Bust of Julia Titi, draped and diademed, r., hair in long plait
Rev: VENVS AVG; Venus stg. r., leaning on column, with helmet and spear
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, February 2017.

A rare variant of the common Venus type for Julia Titi with shortened obverse and reverse legends. NB: Julia's denarii were not struck in plentiful numbers.

Lovely portrait in good metal.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 16, 2017
V1412Aed.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1412A105 viewsAR Denarius, 3.07g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1412A (R3), BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory adv. r., with wreath and palm; at lower r., horizontal Φ
Acquired from Munthandel G Henzen, February 2017.

A previously unknown type for Vespasian's Ephesian denarii dated COS II (group 3). Before this specimen surfaced the Victory advancing right type was only known for COS III (group 5) and later issues at Ephesus. Normally for COS II Victory is advancing left, so, this is the earliest example of the Victory advancing right. The mint mark is a bit obscured, but under examination with a loupe I believe it to be Φ. I alerted Ted Buttrey about the coin and he has assigned it as RIC 1412A in the upcoming RIC II Addenda.

Good Ephesian style and large flan. Better in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 14, 2017
RPC1953a.jpg
RPC-1953-Vespasian73 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.65g
Antioch mint, 69 AD
RPC 1953 (6 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA OYEΠACIANOC KAICAP CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOY IЄPOY•A; Eagle with wreath in beak standing, l. on club; in l. field, palm branch
Ex Pegasi BB151, 21 February 2017, lot 227.

A rare regnal year one tetradrachm struck at Antioch between mid July and 30 September 69. The Syrian legions declared Vespasian emperor sometime in mid July. Soon afterwards, according to Tacitus in his Histories - 'At Antioch gold and silver currencies were struck.' The Judean provenance of many Syrian tetradrachms indicates they were used to pay the legionaries fighting the Jewish War. The style suggests Antioch as the mint. According to K. Butcher and M. Ponting these tetradrachms were struck at 70% silver fineness.

In very fine Antiochene style with a superb portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 08, 2017
V710sm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-71073 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.45g
Rome mint, 74 AD
RIC 710 (R). BMC 142. RSC 613. BNC 116.
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS V CENS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTI; Victory adv. r., with wreath and palm

The quinarius during Vespasian's reign was always struck with one of two standard 'Victory' types (seated or advancing) traditionally assigned to the denomination from Republican times. The historical nature of the reverse is in complete keeping with the programme of antiquarian types Rome was coining during the reign.

In decent condition with hints of rainbow toning on the obverse. A superb portrait and stylish reverse for such a small coin.
5 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 01, 2017
D677sm2.jpg
Domitian RIC-67764 viewsAR Denarius, 2.91g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD (sixth issue)
RIC 677 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Private Collection.

A very rare denarius from the scarce sixth issue of 88-89, perhaps struck for only a few weeks or days prior to 14 September 89, upon which Domitian became TRP VIIII. The first Pannonian War may account for the rapid succession of imperial acclamations during this time period.

A few marks, but still has some good eye appeal in hand.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJan 25, 2017
D674sm2.jpg
Domitian RIC-67472 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD (sixth issue)
RIC 674 (R2). BMC 157. RSC 254c. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Private Collection.

All the denarii from the sixth issue of 88-89 are quite scarce, perhaps struck for only for a few weeks or days prior to 14 September 89, upon which Domitian became TRP VIIII. The first Pannonian War may account for the rapid succession of imperial acclamations during this time period. This Minerva M1 type is the only example the BM has from the issue, just to indicate how rare it is.

Solid portrait with honest wear.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJan 25, 2017
D577b.jpg
Domitian RIC-57783 viewsAR Denarius, 2.73g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 577 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMAN P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Ex Private Collection.

At first glance this Domitian Minerva denarius is nothing special, however, upon closer inspection one can see the obverse legend has the rare GERMAN spelling instead of the very common GERM. RIC cites only two specimens - one in Belgrade, another in a private collection. This is a very common issue from 88, but unusually it is peppered with scarce variants, such as this rare obverse legend. Other rarities include busts with aegis and a unique 5 aurei piece (subsequently stolen from Paris). Perhaps it's a special issue struck in conjunction with the Secular Games which were held in 88.

Worn, but with a fine style portrait.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJan 17, 2017
D184sma.jpg
Domitian RIC-18468 viewsAR Denarius, 2.93g
Rome mint, 84 AD
RIC 184 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANIC; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: P M TR POT III IMP V COS X P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side (M3)
Ex Private Collection.

In 82 AD when Domitian overhauled the mint and increased the fineness of the denarius, he also apparently brought in new engravers who began working in a more elaborate, idealised style. The second denarius issue of 84 is the first to employ the new style and it would dominate the denarius issues for the rest of Domitian's reign. Domitian adopted the title GERMANICVS in the first issue of 84, shortening it to GERMANIC here in the second issue, all of which are extremely rare. This denarius from that second issue is a fine example of the new idealised style with its large portrait and delicately rendered features. RIC cites two specimens of the type, none of which are in the BM or Paris. Notably, the coin is a detectorist find from outside the boundaries of the Empire in Eastern Europe.

Darkly toned and somewhat porous (which accounts for the low weight).
4 commentsDavid AthertonJan 12, 2017
V847c.jpg
Vespasian RIC-847 (2)52 viewsAR Denarius, 3.08g
Rome Mint, 76 AD
RIC 847 (C2). BMC 180. RSC 121. BNC 156.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS VII across field; Eagle head l. standing on thunderbolt, on Altar. Very uncommon with thunderbolt showing.
Acquired from Marc Walter, December 2016.

RIC describes this type as eagle with thunderbolt in claws. More commonly this type is seen without thunderbolt, as seen here. Oddly, it is not mentioned that there are two different variants in the catalogue.

Struck on a large flan in good mid-period style.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJan 10, 2017
RPC2464c.jpg
RPC-2464-Titus 80 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.70g
Alexandria mint, 79-80 AD
RPC 2464 (13 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK TITOY KAIΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY ΣEB; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: ΣAPA-ΠIΣ; bust of Sarapis, r., date LB before bust
Ex JW Harper Collection.

No coinage for Titus at Alexandria was struck during his first regnal year (24 June to 28 August 79), so the earliest coins from that mint are dated to his second regnal year (29 August 79 to 28 August 80). There had been a four year gap since the last issue of tetradrachms were struck under Vespasian. Three reverse types were initially coined for Titus - Euthenia, Homonoia, and Sarapis, none of which are carry-overs from Vespasian's tetradrachm issues. Butcher and Ponting have found Titus' tetradrachms were struck with near 19.5% silver fineness from recycled metals, consistent with the earlier issues minted for Vespasian.

Engraved in good Alexandrian style. Both busts are superb.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJan 05, 2017
T359.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-359a60 viewsAR Denarius, 3.04g
Rome Mint, 79-80 AD (Titus)
RIC 359a (C). BMC 124. RSC 149. BNC 98.
Obv: DIVVS AVGVSTVS VESPASIANVS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: Column mounted by shield and topped by urn, flanked by two laurels; in field, EX, on shield, S C
Ex JW Harper Collection; acquired from Palmyra Heritage.

This Divus Vespasian type comes in two variations: One variant with E and X flanking the column as seen here; the other with E and X flanking the urn, which is slightly less common. RIC makes a distinction between the two in the plates as 'a' and 'b' but does not assign them their own catalogue numbers.

Worn, but in good metal with the major devices still intact.
David AthertonJan 03, 2017
D517.jpg
Domitian RIC-517104 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 517 (C). BMC 111. RSC 228. BNC 110.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Historiche Münzen & Medaillen, December 2016.

From the Second issue of 87, struck between 14 September and 31 December.

Struck on a large flan in beautiful 'Flavian Baroque' style. One of the finest portraits of Domitian in my collection.
5 commentsDavid AthertonDec 28, 2016
V873_var.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 873 (2)95 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome Mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 873 (R2). BMC p. 36 note. RSC 60. BNC -.
Obv: T CAESAR IMP VESPASIANVS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: COS V across field; Eagle head l. standing on thunderbolt, on Altar. Very uncommon with thunderbolt showing.
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, December 2016.

The common eagle and altar type was struck for both Vespasian and Titus Caesar. Here is a very scarce left facing portrait example of the type. However, what interested me about this coin was the reverse, not the rare obverse. What isn't noted in the references and catalogues is the fact this type comes in two variants - one with eagle clutching a thunderbolt in its talons and the other without thunderbolt. Doug Smith proposes a possible third variant with eagle clutching branches. RIC generically describes the reverse as eagle with 'thunderbolt in claws', so this coin without thunderbolt should be regarded as a variant. I have another example of the type showing the eagle clutching a thunderbolt. The coins with plain altars actually seem to be more common.

Nicely toned and in good style.

Special thanks to Doug Smith.


4 commentsDavid AthertonDec 20, 2016
T95.jpg
Titus RIC 95108 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.58g
Rome mint, 79-80 AD
RIC 95 (R2). BMC 111. RSC 370b. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST (anti-clockwise, outwardly, from high l.); Victory std. l., with wreath and palm
Ex Naville 27, 27 November 2016, lot 494. Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection.

An exceedingly rare quinarius of Titus with left facing portrait. This is only the second specimen I've seen in trade.

Dark toning with a neat and fine portrait. Unusually, the two 'banker's marks' are on the reverse appear to have been repaired in antiquity using the same metal originally removed.
5 commentsDavid AthertonDec 15, 2016
RPC1639.jpg
RPC-1639-Domitian as Caesar65 viewsAR Drachm, 3.26g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 73-74 AD
RPC 1639 (10 spec.).
Obv: KAIC ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOY YIOC; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: OMONOIA CЄBACTH; Homonoia/Concordia seated l., holding patera in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
Ex Lanz (eBay), November 2016.

Rome likely struck a small issue of drachms for Cappadocia in 73-74. Coins were issued for Vespasian, Titus Caesar and Domitian Caesar. This Homonoia reverse for Domitian is probably the most common coin of the group. The 6 o'clock die axis and the 'Roman' style of the piece strongly suggest Rome as the home mint. Metallurgical analysis by K. Butcher and M. Ponting show these drachms were struck with the same silver bullion as that used to strike contemporary Roman denarii.

Worn, but nicely centred.
2 commentsDavid AthertonDec 14, 2016
V1431a.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1431 (Countermarked)168 viewsAR Denarius, 3.06g
Ephesus Mint, 71 AD; Countermarked under Vespasian at Ephesus, circa 74-79 AD
RIC 1431 (C). BMC 457. RSC 276. RPC 833 (14 spec.). BNC 352; c/m: GIC 839
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; c/m: IMP·VES (ligate)
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory, draped, advancing r., holding wreath extended in r. hand and palm over l. shoulder. EPHE lower r.
Acquired from Ancient Imports, November 2016.

In the mid to late 70's AD, Ephesus stamped older, worn Republican and early Imperial denarii circulating in the region with the IMP·VES countermark. Here is an exceptionally rare appearance of that Vespasian countermark on a denarius struck for Vespasian. I know of less than half a dozen other Vespasianic denarii similarly stamped. Of course the coin does not require any such countermark, therefore it is a remarkable mint error. The terminus post quem for the countermarking is 74, based on the discovery of another Vespasian countermarked Ephesian denarius dated COS IIII (CNG 78, lot 1753). RPC speculates that these countermarked coins represent a later 'issue' of silver from Ephesus struck sometime after 74 and before Vespasian's death in 79.

The mint workers applying the countermark were kind enough not to obliterate the portrait.
7 commentsDavid AthertonDec 08, 2016
RPC1638.jpg
RPC-1638-Titus as Caesar104 viewsAR Drachm, 3.13g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 73-74 AD
RPC 1638 (4 spec.).
Obv: AYTO KAI OYЄCΠACIANOC CEBACTOY YIOC; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: NIKH CЄBACTH; Nike advancing r., wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
Acquired from Alibaba Coins, November 2016.

A very rare Titus Caesar drachm struck in Rome for circulation in Cappadocia. These Roman pieces can be distinguished from the locally produced coins by the 6 o'clock die axis and 'Roman' style. Butcher and Ponting's analysis of the issue concluded the Roman style coins have the same silver content as contemporary denarii struck at Rome, further strengthening the argument these coins were indeed struck at Rome and then sent to Cappadocia.

A wonderful early Titus portrait.
7 commentsDavid AthertonDec 05, 2016
V801a.jpg
Vespasian RIC-80173 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.61g
Rome mint, 75(?) AD
RIC 801 (R2). BMC 284. RSC 616a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTI; Victory std. l., with wreath and palm
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, November 2016.

An undated quinarius, part of a large issue of quinarii most likely struck in 75. Keeping with tradition, Vespasian employed two Victory types (advancing and seated) for the reverses. They are all quite rare. Those with AVGVSTI are rarer than those with AVGVST.

Well centred and in fine metal.
6 commentsDavid AthertonNov 29, 2016
D516_zpsoack8r5q~original.jpg
Domitian RIC-51691 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.54g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 516 (C). BMC 109. RSC 220. BNC 109.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P; Victory std. l., with wreath and palm
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, November 2016. Ex Roma Auction XII, 29 September 2016, lot 712.

Although this quinarius is listed as 'common' in RIC, compared to denarii the output of quinarii was meagre during the Flavian era. Struck in the first issue of 87, 1 January to 13 September. Interestingly, the corresponding gold quinarius with these titles is unique.

Well centred with full legends and darkly toned.
6 commentsDavid AthertonNov 23, 2016
T47aa.jpg
Titus RIC 4787 viewsAR Denarius, 3.04g
Rome Mint, 79 AD
RIC 47 (R). BMC 28. RSC 291. BNC 27.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XV COS VII P P; Rostral column, ornamented at sides with beaks of ships and surmounted by a statue, radiate, naked except for cloak, standing front, holding vertical spear in r. hand and parazonium at side in l.
Ex Heritage, eBay, November 2016.

The reverse is a carry-over type from the last issue of Vespasian. Extremely rare with left facing portrait. This is the first specimen I've seen in trade in over 12 years.

Worn, but in good metal and fairly centred.
3 commentsDavid AthertonNov 14, 2016
V1473bsm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-147392 viewsAR Denarius, 2.78g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD
RIC 1473 (R). BMC 482. RSC 114a. RPC 1451 (4 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., a small 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: COS VII above; Pegasus r.
Ex Welch Collection. Acquired from eBay, January 2013.

The 'o' mint struck the Pegasus type for Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian, while Rome struck the type only for Domitian. The 'o' mint is infamous for mixing up types and titles incorrectly. This coin features Vespasian with correct titles. Very rare.

Worn, but in fine style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonNov 05, 2016
D844eee.jpg
Domitian RIC-84486 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.66g
Rome mint (for Asia), 82 AD
RIC 844 (R). BMC p. 352. RSC 668. RPC 868 (3 spec.). BNC 224.
Obv: IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: Aquila between two standards, one surmounted by a banner, the other by a hand
Ex. Harlan J. Berk 144, 13 July 2005, lot 572.

Rare with undated obverse legend. Struck contemporaneously or subsequently with COS VIII dated cistophori. Style and 6h die axis point to a Rome mint issue.

Good Titus-like portrait in fine early style.
6 commentsDavid AthertonOct 31, 2016
V1485a.JPG
Titus as Caesar RIC-148586 viewsAR Denarius 3.28g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1485 (R). BMC p. 102 note. RSC 87. RPC 1459 (2 spec.). BNC 375.
Obv: T CAES IMP VESP CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r. 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: FIDES PVBL; Hands clasped over caduceus, two poppies and two corn ears
Ex eBay, October 2016.

A rare type copied from Rome and struck presumably at Ephesus, although the identity of the mint is not certain. The issue is often wrought with mistakes in the form of blundered legends and mules. This denarius is happily correct!

Stylish portrait and nearly full legends.
3 commentsDavid AthertonOct 18, 2016
V1420.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-142094 viewsAR Denarius, 3.40g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1420 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: LIBERI IMP AVG VESPAS; Titus and Domitian, togate, veiled, standing l., each holding patera in r. hand, l. hands at sides; in exergue, BY
Ex Hirsch 323, 22 September 2016, lot 2390.

An extremely rare Ephesus Group 4 denarius. When the new edition of RIC II was published in 2007 only one specimen was known of this dynastic type with mint mark in exergue. Since its publication, several other examples have come to light in addition to mine, bringing the total number of specimens to around a dozen. RIC makes a distinction between two different mint mark placings for this type: in exergue, as seen here, and between T & D.

Struck in fine style with hints of gunmetal toning.
8 commentsDavid AthertonOct 12, 2016
D766.jpg
Domitian RIC-76631 viewsAR Denarius, 3.22g
Rome mint, 94 AD
RIC 768 (C). BMC p. 341 note. RSC 284c. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Spartan 74, 20 September 2016, lot 164.

Struck in 94 between mid September and 31 December. Listed as 'common' in RIC, but not in BM.

Nice portrait with minor flan flaw on obverse.
David AthertonSep 28, 2016
V1418bsm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1418110 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1418 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: LIBERI IMP AVG V-ESPAS; Heads of Titus, bare, r., and Domitian, bare, l., confronting; BY in r. field (on its side, obscured)
Ex Trusted Coins, eBay, September 2016.

The confronting heads of Titus and Domitian is one of the rarest reverse types struck at Ephesus for Vespasian. RIC lists this rare variant with mintmark sideways in right field as 'unique'. I was able to match my specimen's reverse die with another example (Lanz 128, 22 May 2006, lot 322) which showed the BY mintmark, confirming the coin's attribution. Since the publication of the new RIC, I have identified 4 specimens of this extremely rare variant, all from the same reverse die. Also, take note of the unusual break in the reverse legend: V - ESPAS.

Struck with nearly full legends in fine Ephesian style.
4 commentsDavid AthertonSep 20, 2016
D768.jpg
Domitian RIC-76897 viewsAR Denarius, 3.21g
Rome mint, 94 AD
RIC 768 (C). BMC (spec. acquired 1989). RSC 284b. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Mauseus, August 2016.

This denarius is part of the last issue of 94, struck after mid September until the end of the year. The issue is somewhat scarce, although RIC rates all the denarii in it as 'common'.

Nice portrait and well centred.
2 commentsDavid AthertonSep 13, 2016
D665a.jpg
Domitian RIC-66566 viewsAR Denarius, 3.12g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 665 (R2). BMC p. 331, *. RSC 247b. BNC 144.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XVIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)

A very rare denarius from Domitian's third issue of 88-89 recording his 18th imperial acclamation. Domitian was campaigning against the Dacians in 88 and presumably that is the likely explanation for most of the imperial acclamations during the time period. Those denarii with IMP XVIII are some of the rarest and were probably struck for just a few days. A military diploma dated 7 November, 88 records Domitian as IMP XVII, therefore this tiny issue must have been struck soon after that date at the end of 88 and/or very early in 89. RIC speculates mid December 88. All the denarii from this issue are quite scarce.

Struck in good metal in average style.
2 commentsDavid AthertonSep 06, 2016
T357c.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-357(2)100 viewsAR Denarius, 3.26g
Rome mint, 79-80 AD (Titus)
RIC 357 (C2). BMC 129. RSC 497. BNC 101.
Obv: DIVVS AVGVSTVS VESPASIANVS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: Capricorns, l. and r., crossed, supporting round shield inscribed S C : below, globe
Acquired from Civitas Galleries, August 2016.

A rare variant of this common Divus Vespasian denarius type struck under Titus. It is much more common to find the capricorns back to back with no tails, supporting a small shield. Here we see the capricorns crossed with tails, supporting a large shield. Curiously, RIC does not note the rare variant nor assign it a catalogue number.

Previously a jewellery mount piece.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 24, 2016
D447.jpg
Domitian RIC-44767 viewsAR Denarius, 2.95g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 447 (R). BMC (spec. acquired 1987). RSC -. BNC 101.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her l. side (M3)
Ex TimesAncient, eBay, July 2016.

Imperial acclamations were awarded to Domitian at a fairly quick pace during 86 because of the Dacian campaign. Many issues were struck only for a brief time before news arrived of a new imperial salutation. This denarius is from the very rare third issue.

Coined in fine style on a large flan.
2 commentsDavid AthertonAug 10, 2016
V1089sm.jpg
08b Domitian as Caesar RIC-1089181 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.46g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1089 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC 243.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST; Victory std. l., with wreath and palm

An extremely rare quinarius struck for Domitian Caesar in 79. RIC records only one example in Paris (BNC 243) and lists the rarity as 'unique', this specimen then is the second known example. Domitian's COS VI coins most likely date towards the end of Vespasian's reign and the beginning of Titus' rule, indicating the issue was struck uninterrupted after Vespasian's death in June.

Struck in good metal in neat and fine style.
9 commentsDavid AthertonAug 02, 2016
RPC1647.jpg
RPC-1647-Vespasian88 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.71g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 76-77 AD
RPC 1647 (24 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: NIKH CЄBACTH; Nike standing, r., wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
Acquired from CGB, July 2016. Ex MG Collection.

Caesarea, Cappadocia struck a fairly large issue of silver coins in 76/77 AD. There are two distinct styles: "Roman" (6 o'clock die axis) struck at Rome for Cappadocia , and "local" (12 o'clock die axis) struck at Caesarea. This didrachm, struck in local style features Nike on the reverse. There are two variants of the Nike type catalogued in RPC, one with and the other without Nike on an elongated base. This is the more common one without the elongated base. RPC consulted 24 specimens of the non base type and only 9 with the base. Oddly enough, RPC describes the non base type as Nike "standing right", as opposed to those with the base as "advancing right". Why this is so I cannot say.

Struck in hyper-veristic style similar to the denarii coined at Ephesus.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 27, 2016
V1399.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1399123 viewsAR Denarius, 3.18g
Ephesus mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1399 (C). BMC 434. RSC 37. RPC 808 (10 spec.). BNC 332.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: AVG and horizontal Φ; in oak-wreath
Ex Roma E-Sale 28, 2 July 2016, lot 456. Ex Thersites Collection.

Vespasian's undated Ephesian Group 2 denarii are all fairly scarce. The AVG in oak-wreath type is probably the most common of the issue. These early undated issues were most likely struck in late 69 or early 70.

Despite the strange flan shape, struck in fine style and darkly toned.
9 commentsDavid AthertonJul 19, 2016
RPC2423lt.jpg
RPC-2423-Vespasian58 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.25g
Alexandria mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 2423 (11 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYVEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laurerate, r., date LΓ before neck
Rev: No Legend; Nike flying l., with wreath and palm
Acquired from Moneta, July 2016.

Vespasian's regnal year 3 coins at Alexandria are slightly scarcer than those dated year 2. This was the last major issue of tetradrachms Vespasian struck at Alexandria. The same portrait style can be seen in some of the contemporary Syrian issues, indicating that Alexandria struck coins for that province too.

A wonderful example of the 'Alexandrian' portrait style. Darkly toned and well centred.

2 commentsDavid AthertonJul 12, 2016
RPC2416.jpg
RPC-2416-Vespasian93 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.72g
Alexandria mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 2416 (7 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LB before neck
Rev: Τ ΦΛΑΥΙ ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΣ ΚΑΙΣ; laureate head of Titus, r.
Ex CNG E377, 29 June 2016, The Hermanubis collection, lot 28.

From the beginning, Vespasian intended for Titus to succeed him. This was announced on the provincial coinage quite clearly in Cappadocia, Syria, and as seen here on this coin struck in Alexandria, regnal year 2. At the time, Vespasian was busy preparing for his arrival in Rome and Titus was put in command of the legions quelling the Jewish revolt in Judaea. This tetradrachm is a perfect illustration of the amount of trust Vespasian put in his eldest son and clearly shows his choice of successor. Titus' importance to Vespasian cannot be understated and the coinage bears this out. The type is fairly scarce for Alexandria year 2.

The coin comes from the Hermanubis collection. CNG notes the collection 'was assembled with a focus on both quality and rarity'. Judging from this piece, I cannot but agree. Darkly toned with very fine Alexandrian style portraits.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJul 06, 2016
RPC2470sm.jpg
RPC-2470-Titus60 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 11.78g
Alexandria mint, 80-81 AD
RPC 2467 (4 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK TITOY KAIΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY ΣEB; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: NIA-OΣ; bust of Nilus with lotus on shoulder, r., date LΓ to r., star in l. field
Acquired from Ancient Resource, June 2016. Ex CNG.

The Nilus type was struck for Vespasian only on Alexandrian bronze. The type makes an appearance on Titus' tetradrachms during his third regnal year.

Struck in good style and nicely centred.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJun 30, 2016
V633.jpg
02a Domitian as Caesar RIC 79146 viewsAR Quinarius (Broken), 1.04g
Rome mint, 75 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 791 (C). BMC 158. RSC 634. BNC 136.
Obv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTI; Victory std. l., with wreath and palm
Acquired from GB Collection, June 2016

Quinarii were struck under Vespasian for Domitian Caesar from 73 onwards. This common piece dates to 75 when the largest quinarius issue of the reign was produced.

Broken, but enough of the major devices remain to identify it properly. I think I got the better half.
1 commentsDavid AthertonJun 27, 2016
V532sm.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 532110 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.40g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 532 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: T CAES IMP VESP P TR P CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST; Victory adv. r., with wreath and palm
Acquired from GB Collection, June 2016.

An extremely rare quinarius struck for Titus Caesar in 73, the year of his joint censorship with Vespasian. What makes this coin notable is the spelling of 'AVGVST' in the reverse legend. The more common quinarii from the issue spell it 'AVGVSTI', although they too are rare. Apparently this is the second known specimen, the other is cited in the new RIC II and is held by the Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome.

For a quinarius, this is in fairly good condition. Well centred with an agreeable portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 26, 2016
RPC2467.JPG
RPC-2467-Titus75 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.49g
Alexandria mint, 80-81 AD
RPC 2467 (31 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK TITOY KAIΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY ΣEB; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: OMO-NOIA; Homonoia seated, l.; date LΓ to l.
Acquired from Nova Coins, eBay, June 2016.

Most of Titus' coinage struck at Alexandria occur during his second regnal year. The Homonoia type is by far the most common. The style is crude but very distinctive and quite attractive.

Old cabinet toning with an appealing portrait
3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 23, 2016
V1434a.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1434125 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Ephesus Mint, 71 AD
RIC 1434 (R). BMC 459 var. RSC 293 var. RPC 835 (14 spec.) var. BNC 356 var.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI ORB TERR AVG; Bust of woman, draped, wearing crown of towers, r.; EPHE in l. field
Acquired from Künker, June 2016. Ex Nudelman Numismatica Auction 10, 13 June 2011, lot 46.

RIC, alone among the major references, assigns a separate catalogue number to this rare variant with the mint mark behind the reverse bust. It's much more common to find the mint mark below bust. This variant seems to have been struck at a ratio of 1:10 compared with the common variety. A reverse type not struck at Rome.

Fantastic portraits in superb Ephesian style.
8 commentsDavid AthertonJun 20, 2016
D439a.jpg
Domitian RIC-43957 viewsAR Denarius, 3.15g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 439 (R). BMC p. 319, ‡. RSC 202. BNC 98.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG•GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•XII COS XII CENS•P•P•P•; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side (M3)
Acquired from Romae Aeternae, June 2016.

The second denarius issue of 86 records Domitian's 12th imperial acclamation. TR P V indicates it was struck before mid September. A fairly rare issue.

Obverse scratches, but I think the fine portrait redeems the coin.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJun 16, 2016
RPC1502a.jpg
RPC-1502-Domitian67 viewsAR Drachm, 3.26g
Rome mint (for Lycia), 95 AD
RPC 1502 (5 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAIC ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOC ΓЄPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: ЄTOYC IΔ YPATOY IZ; Lyre, to r., branch
Ex Den of Antiquity, eBay, May 2016.

Domitian struck Lycian drachms in 95, the first Lycian silver issued since the time of Claudius. They are in fine Rome mint style with a six o'clock die axis and therefore are most likely products of that mint. Surprisingly, K. Butcher and M. Ponting's analysis of the series show these drachms were struck with Greek silver at 80% fineness - a different metal and fineness than contemporary Roman denarii. Lycian drachms were of similar size to the denarius and they circulated quite widely throughout the empire.

A good Rome style portrait. Much better in hand.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJun 07, 2016
T23.JPG
Titus RIC 23114 viewsAR Denarius, 3.00g
Rome Mint, 79 AD
RIC 23 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII P P; Ceres std. l., with corn ears and poppy and torch

This is the second known specimen of an extremely rare portrait left Ceres type. The only other known specimen was in the Harry Sneh collection and was sold in the Gemini IX sale, 8 January, lot 333 (RIC plate coin). My coin shares an obverse die. It's not often that a second specimen of a unique Flavian type turns up, especially for Titus!

Nicely toned with good eye appeal despite the wear and a few scratches.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMay 30, 2016
V800a.JPG
Vespasian RIC-800108 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.34g
Rome mint, 75(?) AD
RIC 800 (C). BMC 285. RSC 594. BNC 252.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST; Victory std. l., with wreath and palm
Acquired from CGB, May 2016.

Quniarii struck during the Flavian era are exceedingly rare compared to the denarii. Vespasian's largest issue of quinarii are undated and most likely date to 75. The quinarii struck before 75 have AVGVSTI in the reverse legend, while those struck after 75 use the shorter AVGVST. This undated issue employs both forms, therefore it fits neatly to 75. Vespasian employed two traditional Victory types (advancing and seated) for the reverses. Striking this denomination was quite in keeping with the antiquarian flavour of the Rome mint during the reign.

Deeply toned with a decent portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMay 26, 2016
D392A.jpg
Domitian RIC-392A113 viewsAR Denarius, 2.90g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 392A (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XI COS XI CENS P P•P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side (M3)
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, May 2016.

A previously unknown Minerva type 3 from Domitian's rare sixth issue of denarii for 85. Until this coin recently surfaced only three of the four standard Minerva types were known for this issue, now all four are accounted for. Ted Buttrey was notified of this coin's existence and he has assigned it as RIC 392A in the Flavian RIC Addenda. In the Flavian RIC Addenda another specimen is now noted - Hurston list 43, 1985, lot 10.

Well toned with rainbow hints and a stylish portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMay 23, 2016
V556sm.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 55664 viewsAR Denarius, 2.57g
Rome Mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 556 (C). BMC 116. RSC 169. BNC -.
Obv: T CAES IMP VESP CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PONTIF TRI POT; Titus std. r. on curule chair, with sceptre and branch
Acquired from CGB, May 2016.

A reverse type which copies the famous 'Tribute Penny' reverse of Tiberius, but instead of a female figure we see Titus seated. The type was correspondingly struck for Vespasian which resulted in many rare mules. This denarius actually has the correct legends for Titus Caesar. Unusually for Rome it has a twelve o'clock die axis.

A nice early portrait struck on a large flan.
1 commentsDavid AthertonMay 16, 2016
D657.jpg
Domitian RIC-65764 viewsAR Denarius, 3.23g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 657 (R). BMC 148. RSC 247. BNC 139.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XVII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear amd shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Zurqieh, April 2016

Domitian did not take the consulship in 89, so this rare denarius is dated by TR P VIII between September 88 and September 89. The date can be further narrowed down by the 17th imperial acclamation. A military diploma dated 7 November, 88 records Domitian as IMP XVII, so this issue must have been struck briefly at the end of 88, perhaps just a month or so due to the rarity of the acclamation number on the denarii and the fact they were being awarded at a fairly rapid pace due to increased military activity along the Danube.

Solid portrait struck on good metal. Much better in hand.
2 commentsDavid AthertonMay 13, 2016
V1496lg.jpg
09e Domitian as Caesar-RIC 1496110 viewsAR Denarius, 3.17g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1496 (R2). BMC 489. RSC 369. RPC 1469 (2 spec.). BNC 377.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r. 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS IIII; Winged caduceus
Acquired from Britaly Coins, April 2016.

The small series struck under Vespasian this coin comes from is quite mysterious. The mint is not known for certain, although Ephesus is a prime suspect. K. Butcher and M. Ponting in The Metallurgy of Roman silver Coinage analysed the Ephesian and 'o' mint series and their data shows both issues are made from the same bullion. Not definitive proof the two series are from the same mint, but good evidence of a strong link. Unlike the Ephesian series, the 'o' issue is full of blundered legends and mules. This denarius struck for Domitian Caesar has a PON MAX reverse legend, an impossible title for the young prince. However, what the mint masters lacked in competency, the engravers made up for in their stylish portraits.

A wonderful portrait struck on a large flan. An obverse die match with my RIC V1494.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMay 10, 2016
D687.jpg
Domitian RIC-68724 viewsAR Denarius, 3.36g
Rome mint, 89 AD
RIC 687 (C2). BMC 160. RSC 256. BNC 155.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)

A fairly common denarius struck at a time of increased military activity along the Danube. Imperial acclamations were being awarded to Domitian at a fast pace culminating in a double triumph the Senate voted Domitian over the chatti and Dacians at the end of the year.

Engraved in decent style and in good metal. Denarii of this period were struck at 90% fineness.
David AthertonApr 28, 2016
D28.jpg
Domitian RIC 28133 viewsAR Denarius, 3.23g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 28 (R2). BMC p. 433. RSC 56a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)

The Minerva on this denarius is distinctively quite flamboyant and was struck in the Autumn of 81 soon after Domitian became emperor. This is one of the earliest appearances of Minerva for Domitian as Augustus and it copies the same type coined for him as Caesar under Titus the previous year. The reverse is a die match with the RIC plate coin.

A rare coin in lovely style and well centred.
7 commentsDavid AthertonApr 25, 2016
D435b.jpg
Domitian RIC-43593 viewsAR Denarius, 2.98g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 435 (R). BMC 93. RSC 201b. BNC 97.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Dionysos, eBay, April 2016.

This denarius is part of the third issue of 86. At the time Domitian was waging a war against the Dacians and the imperial salutations were being awarded at a fast pace, this coin records his 12th acclamation. The denarii from these issues tend to be in fine style and quite scarce.

Nicely centred with a noble portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonApr 19, 2016
V793.jpg
Vespasian RIC-793132 viewsAR Quinarius, 1.41g
Rome mint, 75(?) AD
RIC 793 (R). BMC 288 var. RSC 614a var. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVST; Victory adv. r., with wreath and palm
Acquired from CGB, April 2016.

Vespasian revived the quinarius after a long hiatus going back to the time of Augustus. Striking this denomination was quite in keeping with the antiquarian flavour of the Rome mint during the reign. The largest issue of quinarii, of which this coin is part of, was minted in 75. Keeping to tradition, Vespasian employed two Victory types (advancing and seated) for the reverses. They are all quite rare. Dating this undated issue is a little tricky. The quinarii struck before 75 have AVGVSTI in the reverse legend, while those struck after 75 use the shorter AVGVST. This undated issue employs both forms, therefore it fits neatly to 75.

This example is in exceedingly fine condition and style for the series.
9 commentsDavid AthertonApr 14, 2016
T97.jpg
Domitian as Caesar RIC 9779 viewsAR Denarius, 2.74g
Rome mint, 80 AD (Titus)
RIC 97 (C). BMC 84. RSC 386. BNC -.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Salus, stg. r., resting on column, feeding snake out of patera
Ex Lanz, eBay, 28 March 2016.

The Salus feeding snake type was struck for Domitian Caesar under both Vespasian as COS VI and Titus as COS VII. AVG F in the obverse legend indicates this denarius was coined before Vespasian's deification, after which DIVI F was used. This Salus type was unique to Domitan Caesar and was discontinued in the following DIVI F issue when a whole new slate of reverse designs were employed.

Not as commonly found as the COS VI version.


6 commentsDavid AthertonApr 11, 2016
D454a.jpg
Domitian RIC-45444 viewsAR Denarius, 3.46g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 454 (R). BMC p. 320, †. RSC 208. BNC 103.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, October 2015. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

This denarius from the rare fifth issue struck after mid September 86 at a time when Domitian's imperial acclamations were piling up rather quickly due to campaigns along the Danube. These issues tend to be superb in style and craftsmanship.

A nicely toned coin with a regal portrait.
1 commentsDavid AthertonApr 02, 2016
D666a.jpg
Domitian RIC-66698 viewsAR Denarius, 3.46g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 666 (R2). BMC p. 331 note. RSC 247a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XVIII COS XIIII CENS P•P•P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Lancelot Coin Co., eBay, March 2016.

A very rare denarius which records Domitian's 18th imperial acclamation, most likely struck in late 88. Imperial acclamations were coming fast and furious during the 88-89 time period, which is the primary means of differentiating the many various issues since Domitian did not take the consulship in 89. He was campaigning against the Dacians in 88 and presumably that is the likely explanation of the rapid succession of imperial acclamations during the time period. Those denarii with IMP XVIII are some of the rarest and were probably struck for just a few days. A military diploma dated 7 November, 88 records Domitian as IMP XVII, therefore this tiny issue must have been struck soon after that date at the end of 88 and/or very early in 89. RIC speculates mid December 88.

A nice solid denarius in good metal and fine style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMar 31, 2016
D58.jpg
Domitian RIC 5898 viewsAR Denarius, 3.24g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 58 (C). BMC 11. RSC 560. BNC 28.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, March 2016. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

Domitian's devotion to his patron deity Minerva can be detected quite early in his reign on the coinage. This reverse design struck in late 81 would later become one of the standard four Minerva types he would repeat over and over again on the denarius.

In fine early veristic style and beautifully toned with rainbow highlights.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMar 22, 2016
V1345.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1345117 viewsAR Denarius, 3.24g
Uncertain Western Mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1345 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVGVSTV; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: LIBERTAS PVBLICA; Libertas stg. l., with pileus and rod
Ex Pecunem 41, 6 March 2016, lot 675.

Many mints were operating during the civil war of 68/69 in the west and it is sometimes difficult to pin down certain issues to a specific mint. This Libertas type with an unusual AVGVSTV ending the obverse legend is one such coin and was totally unknown until recently. The reverse type suggests Spain, as does the portrait style - which is very similar to the gold and bronze issues from Tarraco. However, RIC notes that this variety of the type has no known Spanish provenance, unlike the other Libertas type (see my V1339) attributed to Spain. The coin's theme is a civil war one and most certainly was struck very early in Vespasian's reign.

A beautiful coin in hand with a spectacular portrait.
8 commentsDavid AthertonMar 15, 2016
V688sm.jpg
Vespasian RIC-688220 viewsAR Denarius, 2.84g
Rome mint, 74 AD
RIC 688 (R). BMC 147. RSC 569. BNC 121.
Obv: IMP CAESAR in exergue; Vespasian stg. r., with branch and sceptre, in quadriga r.
Rev: VESP AVG across field; Victory on prow r., with wreath and palm
Ex Nomos Obolos 4, 21 February 2016, lot 575. Ex GH Collection. Ex Superior Galleries, The Moreira sale, Part II, 10-11 December 1988, lot 2374.

A major feature of Vespasian's coinage is in its use of antiquarian styled types and recycled ones from previous eras. K. Butcher and M. Ponting in The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage have shown that a big component of Vespasian's silver bullion consisted of recycled denarii from the republic and early empire. Vespasian's moneyers were removing the older worn coinage and replacing them with brand new coins and in the process keeping some of the familiar reverse designs that the Roman public had grown accustomed to.

With that in mind, this very rare coin which copies not only the reverse design from a denarius of Octavian, it also copies the obverse. The only change is with the reverse legend VESP AVG to indicate Vespasian's authority. Being undated, it is difficult to correctly place in the series. RIC assigns it to 74 AD based on the legends. D. Hendin to 71-72, just after Vespasian and Titus' joint triumph for the Jewish War.

This denarius is so rare I have only been able to locate six other examples, all of which are in public collections: BM 3 examples (one plated), Paris (obv die match with mine), Berlin (rev die match with mine), and ANA NY. Curtis Clay has kindly informed me of several other examples offered at auction: "Glendining, 1952, Ryan Part 5, part of lot 2147, not illustrated, 'only fine but rare.' Perhaps the same coin as Trau Sale, 1935, lot 625, pl. 8: a worn example. Stack's, Knobloch, May 1980, lot 300. VF, but small edge chip (the ANA NY coin). Leu, April 1982, lot 327, VF."

I think the RIC frequency rating of 'rare' really underestimates the rarity of the type.

Fantastic old cabinet toning on a large 20mm flan.
15 commentsDavid AthertonMar 09, 2016
IMG_0344.JPG
Domitian as Caesar RIC 99100 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 80 AD (Titus)
RIC 99 (R). BMC 83. RSC 380a. BNC 70.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Vesta, std. l., with palladium and sceptre
Acquired from Artifact Man, February 2016.

The Vesta type was struck for Domitian Caesar with him as COS VI in 79 under Vespasian and COS VII in 80 under Titus. This denarius bears the COS VII dating and is much rarer than the common COS VI. Perhaps the window of time these rare COS VII Vesta denarii were struck was quite small because a whole new set of reverse designs were soon employed for him later in the year after Vespasian's deification (the DIVI F issue).

A fine denarius with dark toning.
5 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 29, 2016
V1395b.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1395121 viewsAR Denarius, 3.04g
Ephesus Mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1395 (R3). BMC 430. RSC 248. RPC 805 (1 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: LIBERI IMP AVG VESPAS; Titus and Domitian veiled, togate, stg. front (heads l.), each with patera
Ex CNG E368, 10 February 2016, lot 406.

Part of the first group of denarii struck at Ephesus. Unlike the other groups struck at the mint, this very rare early issue did not use mint-marks. My specimen is apparently the second known of the Titus and Domitian togate type (although the other specimen in the BM is off-centre and a possible mint-mark could be off flan).

A pleasing coin with a fine Ephesian style portrait. Much better in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 16, 2016
RPC1976.jpg
RPC-1976-Domitian60 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.78g
Antioch mint, 81-82 AD
RPC 1976 (6 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAIΣAP ΔOMITIANOC ΣEB; Bust of Domitian, laureate, r. with aegis
Rev: ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY - B; Eagle with with wings spread on thunderbolt to r.; in r. field, palm branch
Acquired from Münzhandlung Ritter, January 2016.

Although this is a Syrian type it most likely was minted in Alexandria for circulation in the province. There is also the possibility that Alexandrian engravers were working at the Antioch mint. Coined in Domitian's second regnal year, he did not wait long after assuming the purple to issue coins in Syria.

Struck in fine 'Alexandrian' style with beautiful chocolate toning.
2 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 10, 2016
D685a.jpg
Domitian RIC-68573 viewsAR Denarius, 3.19g
Rome mint, 89 AD
RIC 685 (C2). BMC 158. RSC 257. BNC 152.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)

Late in 89 Domitian was voted a double triumph over the Chatti and the Dacians. This common denarius struck between mid September and 31 December records Domitian's 21st imperial acclamation, the culmination of the two campaigns. This large issue was likely struck for a donative paid out to the troops.

A conventional third period portrait in good style.
David AthertonFeb 02, 2016
D99a.jpg
Domitian RIC 99147 viewsAR Denarius, 3.40g
Rome mint, 82 AD
RIC 99 (R). BMC 25. RSC 592a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR POT COS VIII P P; Minerva stg. l., with Victory and sceptre; at feet, shield
Acquired from Pars Coins, eBay, 20 January 2016.

A rare coin that is part of the first issue of 82, but the last to be struck on the old standard. After this issue Domitian would increase the fineness and weight of the denarius as part of a coinage reform. Minerva and Victory did not become one of the standard Minerva types that were struck year after year until the end of the reign. It made its last appearance in this issue and is the scarcest type of the series.

Struck with new dies in superb veristic style. A really beautiful denarius showcasing the fine technical and artistic craftsmanship of the Rome mint.
8 commentsDavid AthertonJan 28, 2016
RPC1948b.jpg
RPC-1948-Vespasian66 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.13g
Antioch mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 1948 (3 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.; in r. field, lituus
Rev: ETOYΣ Γ IEPOY; Eagle standing l., on club; in l. field, palm branch
Acquired from CGB, January 2016.

Alexandria struck tetradrachms for circulation in Syria and they can be distinguished from the Antioch issues by style. This RPC Group 3 tetradrachm is in typical 'Alexandrian' style and features a lituus on the obverse. All the Tetradrachms from Groups 3 are quite scarce, but those with the additional symbol are very rare.

Struck in good 'Alexandrian' style with a pleasing portrait.

3 commentsDavid AthertonJan 27, 2016
RPC1660a.jpg
RPC-1660-Vespasian47 viewsAR Hemidrachm, 1.42g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, undated
RPC 1660 (4 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKP KAICAP OYЄCΠAIANOC CЄBA; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: No legend; Nike seated on globe, r., holding wreath in both hands

All the hemidrachms from Caesarea were struck in 'local style' and originate from that mint, as opposed to those coins in 'Roman style' which were struck in Rome and shipped to Caesarea. Although undated they probably were minted in regnal year 9 (76/77). Two reverse types were struck for the hemidrachms - Nike advancing right and Nike on globe, the latter being the rarer of the two.

Fairly well centered and decently struck in good 'local' style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJan 25, 2016
RPC1961c.jpg
RPC-1961-Vespasian73 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.08g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1961 (5 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICA OYЄCΠACIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOY IЄPOY B; Eagle with wreath in beak on club to l.; in l. field, palm branch; crescent between eagle's legs

The 69-70 time period saw large issues of tetradrachms minted at Antioch, most likely due to the massive military operations in Judaea involved with crushing the Jewish revolt. Titus Caesar mounted the siege of Jerusalem during the spring and summer of 70 when this coin was probably struck. Both Antioch and Alexandria struck coins for circulation in Syria. This tetradrachm is in very fine 'Antiochene' style and is likely a product of that mint. The crescent between the eagle's legs is a trademark of the RPC group 5 tetradrachms from Antioch.

A lovely coin in excellent style.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJan 18, 2016
V1339.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1339123 viewsAR Denarius, 3.07g
Uncertain Spanish mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1339 (R2). BMC 360. RSC 259. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: LIBERTAS PVBLICA; Libertas stg. l., with pileus and rod
Ex Pecunem 39, 4 January 2016, lot 874.

Late in 69 during the waning stages of the Civil War, Spain began striking coins for Vespasian. Some of these Spanish issues may be earlier than those struck at Rome. The Libertas reverse was copied from the Spanish coinage of Galba and both he and Vitellius issued left facing portraits in the province. The metal analysis by K. Butcher and M. Ponting of this issue shows Spanish silver was used in its production, however, the location of the mint is a mystery. The coin's style is different than those traditionally attributed to Tarraco(?), so another mint must have been active in the province. Also of note, the style is very similar to those of RIC's Uncertain western mint group 2 denarii. The reverse type of Libertas was used by the various contenders during the Civil War to show they were rescuing the Roman people from 'tyranny'.

A wonderful portrait in similar style to the Spanish issues of Vitellius. Very rare.
8 commentsDavid AthertonJan 14, 2016
RPC1959.jpg
RPC-1959-Vespasian76 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.55g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1959 (1 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOY IЄPOY B; Eagle with wreath in beak on club to l.; in l. field, palm branch; crescent between eagle's legs
Acquired from Zuzim, January 2016.

Syrian tetradrachms come in several styles and were struck at different mints for distribution in the province. This rare specimen is in very fine Antiochene style and most likely was struck at Antioch. The issue can be dated to Vespasian's second regnal year around the time of the siege and fall of Jerusalem by Titus Caesar and probably was part of payments awarded to the troops.

A nice chunky piece with a superb portrait of the old soldier.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJan 11, 2016
D95.jpg
Domitian RIC 95136 viewsAR Denarius, 3.03g
Rome mint, 82 AD
RIC 95 (C). BMC 28A. RSC 595. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR POT COS VIII P P; Curule chair, wreath above
Acquired from Lucernae, eBay, December 2015.

Coined at the very beginning of 82, just before Domitian overhauled the mint and increased the fineness of the denarius. The type is a continuation of the 'pulvinaria' series, most likely struck as a stop-gap until the mint master finished preparations for the new reverse designs.

In good early veristic style with a rich dark tone.
4 commentsDavid AthertonDec 31, 2015
D772c.jpg
Domitian RIC-772121 viewsAR Denarius, 2.48g
Rome mint, 95 AD
RIC 772 (C2). BMC 224. RSC 287. BNC 202.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Cerberus Ancient Coins, December 2015.

Domitian held the consulship in 95, which dates this denarius between 1 January and 13 September of that year. Flavian specialist Brian Jones speculates that during 95/96 Domitian waged a campaign against the Iazyges in the vicinity of Singidunum. This military activity may account for the large issues of denarii struck during the final years of the reign. Admittedly, tying denarius issues to military campaigns is guess work at best.

The engravers in the last couple of years of Domitian's reign sometimes depicted his portrait with a slight upward tilt. Harold Mattingly described these portraits as 'eyes to heaven'. This coin shows it quite well.
1 commentsDavid AthertonDec 29, 2015
D735.jpg
Domitian RIC-735105 viewsAR Denarius, 3.56g
Rome mint, 92 AD
RIC 735 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, December 2015. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

This coin is from a very rare issue struck towards the end of summer 92 and can be dated by the TR P XI and IMP XXII, an exceedingly rare combination. A few dies with IMP XXI were altered with an additional 'I', which can be seen here squeezed before COS on the reverse. Perhaps word of the new imperial acclamation reached the mint the same day this coin was struck.

Well centered with an above average portrait. Nicely toned too.
5 commentsDavid AthertonDec 22, 2015
T515d.jpg
Titus RIC-515210 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.64g
Rome mint (for Asia), 80-81 AD
RIC 515 (R). BMC spec. acquired 1948. RSC -. RPC 860 (3 spec.). BNC 111.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M•; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CAPIT across field, RESTIT in exergue; Temple of Capitoline Jupiter with 4 columns enclosing figures of Juno, seated Jupiter and Minverva
Acquired from Calgary Coin, 30 November 2015. Ex MS collection. Ex Berk 124, 3 January 2002, lot 448.

In 80 AD while Titus was away in Campania surveying the damage Vesuvius had caused in the region the previous Fall, a devastating fire broke out in Rome, damaging much of the city center. One of the most important buildings affected by the fire was the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, rebuilt recently by Vespasian. The temple being the most sacred and important building in Rome, Titus began rebuilding it immediately. Construction was still ongoing when Titus died of natural causes in September of 81. A cistophorus commemorating the rebuilding of the structure was struck for Domitian but it was not until 1948 with the discovery of this reverse type for Titus when the BM acquired a specimen was the type known to be minted for Titus. Needless to say it is extremely rare. Since 1948 seven other examples have surfaced, four of which are in public collections. A.M. Woodward speculates the type for Domitian is actually a hybrid struck from carry-over dies intended for Titus. This cistophorus was minted in Rome for export to Asia Minor. The style and die axis are similar to the denarii from Rome during the same period, firmly placing it to that mint. This coin is an obverse die match with Gemini IX, lot 458.

A wonderful 'chunky' coin in hand in good style.
12 commentsDavid AthertonDec 07, 2015
D725.jpg
Domitian RIC-72517 viewsAR Denarius, 3.29g
Rome mint, 91 AD
RIC 725 (C). BMC 183. RSC 270. BNC 171.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r., on capital of rostral column, with spear and sheild; to r., owl (M2)

This common denarius was struck between mid September and 31 December 91. A noticeable dip in both the quality and style of some of Domitian's denarii started to appear in the early 90s. The rigorous high consistency of only just a few years prior had been replace by a more 'roughshod' appearance in some of the coins, reminiscent of denarii struck very early in his reign, however, the fineness remained at a higher level. This coin is a good example of the more relaxed standard, not fine, but not outright crude. Evidence of a large issue where many engravers had to be employed, some less talented than others!

A decent coin struck on a crowded flan in fair style.



David AthertonDec 01, 2015
RPC2425.jpg
RPC-2425-Vespasian66 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 10.71g
Alexandria mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 2425 (9 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYVEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laurerate, r., date LΓ before neck
Rev: AΛEΞAN-ΔPEIA; Alexandria standing, l., with wreath and sceptre
Acquired from Beast Coins, November 2015. Ex Keith Emmett Collection. Ex Sepcos, October 1979.

The personification of Alexandria (or Alexander the Great?) is seen here offering a victor's wreath, presumably to Vespasian, and holding a sceptre. The year 3 tetradrachms tend to be more scarce than those from year 2.

Better in hand than the photo indicates.
2 commentsDavid AthertonNov 26, 2015
D344.jpg
Domitian RIC-34499 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Rome mint, 85 AD (fifth issue)
RIC 344 (R2). BMC -. RSC 186. BNC 87.
Obv: IMP•CAES•DOMIT AVG•GERM•P•M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•VIIII COS XI CENS•POT P•P•; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side (M3)
Ex CNG E363, 11 November 2015, lot 319.

An extremely rare denarius from the fifth issue of 85. Coined shortly after Domitian reduced the fineness of the denarius by 5% to the old Neronian level after having raised it in 82 to the Augustan standard. RIC cites Paris and Oxford with examples of this type.

Struck on a large flan (21 mm!) in superb fine style.

4 commentsDavid AthertonNov 17, 2015
D186.jpg
Domitian RIC-186143 viewsAR Denarius, 3.48g
Rome mint, 84 AD (second issue)
RIC 186 (R2). BMC 48. RSC 352. BNC 47.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANIC; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: P M TR POT III IMP V COS X P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side (M3)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, November 2015. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

In 82 AD when Domitian overhauled the mint and increased the fineness of the denarius, he also apparently brought in new engravers who began working in a more elaborate, idealised style. Two years later that new style came into full bloom, as can be seen on this gorgeous example from the second issue of 84. All of the coins from 84 are quite scarce due to both Gresham's law and the low rate of production. Much experimentation was going on at the mint at this time with reverse types, busts, and style. I assume the amount of time an engraver spent on rendering these highly polished pieces was considerable, which could perhaps explain why they were not struck more commonly.

The aegis draped over the left shoulder along with the icy regal portrait makes for a most compelling piece. Struck on a large flan (21 mm!) this is a very impressive coin in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonNov 09, 2015
D676a.jpg
Domitian RIC-67676 viewsAR Denarius, 2.98g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD (sixth issue)
RIC 676 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC 151.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, October 2015.

TRP VIII and IMP XXI is a very scarce dating combination on Domitian's denarii. The rarity of the dating indicates it was most likely struck for a short period of time, perhaps only for a few weeks or days prior to 14 September 89, upon which Domitian became TRP VIIII. The first Pannonian War would account for the rapid succession of imperial acclamations during this time period.

A good, solid portrait and well centered strike. Notable personally as the first coin from this issue I have acquired.

5 commentsDavid AthertonOct 31, 2015
D169.jpg
Domitian RIC-169112 viewsAR Denarius, 3.44g
Rome mint, 83 AD
RIC 169 (R). BMC p. 307 note. RSC 601. BNC 42.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR POT II COS VIIII DES X P P; Minverva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, October 2015. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

Domitian was very concerned about the quality of his coinage. In 82 AD he restored the fineness of the denarius to the levels of Augustus, striking them in nearly 100% silver. This coin from 83 was produced soon after the new standard was introduced. The portrait style is somewhere between the earlier veristic style seen in the first few months of the reign and the more elaborate, idealised style the engravers employed from 84 onward. This issue is also significant because it introduces for the first time the four standard Minerva types that would dominate the reverse of the denarius until the end of the reign.

Struck in fine style on a large flan. The scrape on the cheek isn't so noticeable in hand.
7 commentsDavid AthertonOct 20, 2015
D339.jpg
Domitian RIC-33985 viewsAR Denarius, 2.82g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 339 (R2). BMC 80. RSC 180a. BNC 83.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: IMP•VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P; Minverva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, October 2015. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

A denarius which is part of the rare fourth issue of 85. This issue is the first struck after Domitian reduced the fineness of the denarius by 5% to the old Neronian level after having raised it in 82 to the Augustan standard. Despite the reduction in fineness this is a remarkably well crafted series signified by the aegis, which only appeared in issues of special note.

A well executed portrait in fine style. Struck on an oblong flan which does not detract too much from the coin's overall appeal.
4 commentsDavid AthertonOct 12, 2015
V958.jpg
04a Domitian as Caesar RIC 958143 viewsAR Denarius, 3.12g
Rome Mint, 77-78 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 958 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: COS V; Horseman, helmeted, in military dress, cloak floating behind him, on horse prancing r., with r. hand thrown upwards and back
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, September 2015.

Second known specimen of this type with left facing portrait. A die match with the unique RIC plate coin. Left facing portraits of Domitian are quite rare and highly prized by collectors.

In fine style with honest wear. The portrait is outstanding!
8 commentsDavid AthertonSep 28, 2015
RPC1967sm.jpg
RPC-1967-Titus as Caesar112 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.48g
Caesarea Maritima mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 1967 (3 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKP TITOΣ KAIΣ OYEΣΠ; Bust of Titus, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: ETOYΣ Γ IEPOY; Eagle standing, l., with wreath in beak on palm branch; club in l. field
Acquired from CGB, September 2015.

In the immediate aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem Titus Caesar and his troops celebrated their great victory. Games were held, coins were struck, and booty distributed. This rare tetradrachm was minted in Judaea during those heady days of celebrations and games in 70/71 AD.

An interestingly styled coin (just look at those curls!) with some wear and looks as if it could have fought in the Jewish War itself!
6 commentsDavid AthertonSep 23, 2015
RPC1642.jpg
RPC-1642-Vespasian78 viewsAR Didrachm, 5.67g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 76-77 AD
RPC 1642 (8 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ΠATHP ΠATPIΔOC; Mt Argaeus; on summit, radiate figure standing, l., globe in r. hand, sceptre in l. hand
Acquired from MNS, September 2015.

Rome struck a series of silver coins consisting of drachms and didrachms for circulation in Cappadocia during the middle of Vespasian's reign. This didrachm from regnal year 9 has the very ethnic reverse type of Mt Argaeus. These Rome issues can be distinguished from the local issues both by style and die axis - the Rome issues having a 6 o'clock die axis and the local issues a 12 o'clock die axis.

A fantastic portrait of Vespasian, slightly marred by the scratch and heavy wear.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 21, 2015
V1302a.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1302129 viewsAR Denarius, 3.36g
Tarraco mint, 70 AD
RIC 1302 (R). BMC 351A. RSC 5. BNC 2.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: CEASAR AVG F COS CAESAR AVG F PR; Heads of Titus, bare, r., and Domitian, bare, l., confronting
Ex Pecunem 35, 6 September 2015, lot 582.

Vespasian announced his intentions of founding a dynasty to the Senate - "My successor shall be my son or no one at all." He struck coins to advertise the fact and the type with confronting heads of Titus and Domitian is one of the more blatant examples of this. The type is most commonly encountered from Rome, however, a much rarer example of the type was struck at Tarraco in Spain. They can be distinguished from Rome by style and the use of dots in the legend. It can be difficult to sort these Spanish denarii out from the Rome examples because at this early stage Rome did not have a standard style. The Paris specimen (BNC 2) is erroneously attributed to Rome. My coin is a reverse die match with the Gemini X, lot 733 specimen.

A few scrapes and the use of a worn die do not distract too much from this coin's appeal.
5 commentsDavid AthertonSep 14, 2015
V1494a.jpg
09c Domitian as Caesar- RIC 1494125 viewsAR Denarius, 2.81g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1494 (R2). BMC 488 bis. RSC 47 var. RPC 1465 (1 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r. 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: COS IIII above; Pegasus r.
Ex G&N, eBay, 27 August 2015.

An unknown eastern mint struck a spate of denarii in 76 which copied many contemporary types from Rome. Both RIC and RPC speculate it possibly could be Ephesus, citing a similar style with a previous Ephesian issue from 74 and the use of an annulet as a mint mark. The issue is extremely rare. This denarius copies the much more common Pegasus type struck at Rome for Domitian. Domitian's connection to this unusual type perhaps can be explained by Pegasus' association with Athena/Minerva, Domitian's patron goddess. These eastern denarii are understandably confused with the issues from Rome, however, they can be distinguished by style and the annulet (if visible) below the bust.

A fine styled, nicely toned denarius.
7 commentsDavid AthertonSep 07, 2015
T35b.jpg
Titus RIC 35138 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 35 (R). BMC 11. RSC 268a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M•; Head of Titus, Laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII P P; Venus stg. r. leaning on column, with helmet and spear
Ex CNG E358, 26 August 2015, lot 323.

Titus' 14th imperial acclamation dates between 1 July to at least before 8 September 79 as two documents indicate - one a letter Titus addressed to the city of Munigua on 7 September, and the other a military diploma dated 8 September, both still show him as IMP XIIII. Effectively, this coin was struck during the time of the Mount Vesuvius eruption on 24 August, although the traditional date of the disaster is now disputed and may possibly have been later in the year.

Left facing portraits of Titus are much rarer than right facing, perhaps to a ratio of 1:10. This left facing Venus type from the second issue after 1 July is extremely difficult to find. Listed simply as 'rare' by the new RIC, this is perhaps one of those types which might be a bit rarer than the rating indicates.

Somewhat worn, but nicely centered and in fine style. I've noticed over the years that those denarii of Titus with dots in the legend tend to be of a finer style, such as this coin.
8 commentsDavid AthertonSep 01, 2015
RPC2422.jpg
RPC-2422-Vespasian54 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 AthertonAug 25, 2015
RPC1940.jpg
RPC-1940-Vespasian100 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.00g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1940 (7 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: (T) ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠ KAIΣ ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY; Laureate Head of Titus, r.; in l. field, star; in r. field, B
Ex CNG E357, 12 August 2015, lot 259.

This regnal year 2 tetradrachm in "Alexandrian" style was most likely struck in Alexandria and then sent to Syria for circulation. Kevin Butcher speculates these "Alexandrian" styled tets were ordered by the southern Syrian cities from the Alexandria mint for circulation in that part of the province. It's of interest to note that these tetradrachms in which Titus' portrait is featured on the reverse may have been circulating in the region where he commanded the legions fighting the Jewish War. The star in the reverse left field may be some sort of mint control mark.

Although the flan is somewhat flatly stuck near the bottom and the surfaces a bit rough, in hand it's a really nice piece. The main attraction here is the fine portrait of Titus on the reverse.
5 commentsDavid AthertonAug 17, 2015
RPC2404sm.jpg
RPC-2404-Vespasian67 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.67g
Alexandria mint, 69 AD
RPC 2404 (16 spec.).
Obv: AYT TIT ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠAΣIAN KAIΣ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LA before neck
Rev: AΛEΞAN-ΔPEIA; Alexandria standing, l., with wreath and sceptre
Ex Zeus Galleries, eBay, August 2015.

Alexandria struck the very first coinage for Vespasian in July and August of 69 after the legions under Tiberius Alexandria hailed him as emperor on 1 July. This coin is dated to his first regnal year at Alexandria and was minted in those heady days. The portrait is similar to the tetradrachms struck for Vitellius, most likely because the engravers had no image of Vespasian to go by. According to Tacitus (Hist. III, 48) he had not yet arrived in Alexandria by the time reports of the battle of Cremona reached him in the middle of November. Fittingly on the reverse, Alexandria (or Alexander the Great?) is seen here offering a victor's wreath, presumably to Vespasian, and holding a sceptre.

It's difficult to find these Alexandrian tets in decent condition. They are typically well circulated and worn and this example is no exception, but it's nicely toned and the heavy wear has not been too unkind.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 10, 2015
V1465a.jpeg
Vespasian-RIC-1465107 viewsAR Denarius, 3.02g
Ephesus mint, 74 AD
RIC 1465 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS V TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory adv. r., with wreath and palm; at lower l., annulet, at lower r., star
Ex Ancient Treasures, eBay, 26 July 2015.

The various mint marks found on the denarii struck for the Flavians at Ephesus are somewhat mysterious in purpose and meaning. There is no blatant reason why they are present in the issue. This denarius struck for Vespasian in 74 towards the end of the series has not one, but two mint marks on the reverse, an annulet and star. Perhaps they were internal mint control marks?

A victorious peace bestowed by the emperor is advertised on the reverse, while a severe looking Vespasian on the obverse demands you love and accept that peace, or else.
5 commentsDavid AthertonAug 03, 2015
RPC1938a.jpeg
RPC-1938-Vespasian71 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.88g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1938 (3 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY B; Eagle standing r., on thunderbolt; in r. field, palm branch
Acquired from Romae Aeternae, July 2015.

A very rare RPC Group 1 tetradrachm from Antioch. The style is "Alexandrian". It's highly probable the coin was engraved and struck at Alexandria and then sent to Syria for circulation. Kevin Butcher speculates these "Alexandrian" styled tetradrachms were sent to southern Syria to fulfil coin orders the cities in that region may have placed with the mint at Alexandria. (Coinage in Roman Syria, London, 2004, p. 250)

Unusually for a Group 1 tetradrachm, the portrait is without aegis and resembles Titus more than Vespasian.

4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 27, 2015
RPC1937asm.jpg
RPC-1937-Vespasian77 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.98g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1937 (4 spec.).
Obv : AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Bust of Vespasian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev : ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY B; Eagle standing r., on thunderbolt; in r. field, palm branch
Acquired from CGB, July 2015.

This RPC Group 1 tetradrachm was struck very early in Vespasian's reign. He is seen here with aegis, similar in appearance and style to those struck for Nero. The first tetradrachms at Antioch depicting Vespasian with aegis were struck for regnal year one (July - September 69), this year two coin (October 69 - September 70) was likely minted very soon afterward, perhaps Autumn of 69. The style is 'Alexandrian', indicating either the coin was struck at the Alexandria mint and then sent to Syria or, at the very least, the die was engraved there. Interestingly the aegis depicted on the portrait is a cloak (goat skin?) decorated with a snake on the shoulder, much more elaborately than the aegises engraved at Rome.

A fantastic early and rare portrait of the new emperor.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJul 21, 2015
RPC1944.jpg
RPC-1944-Vespasian115 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.95g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1944 (4 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Small bust of Vespasian, laureate, l., with drapery on far shoulder, above eagle standing l., l. wing extended
Rev: T•ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠ KAIΣ ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY; Head of Titus, laureate, r.; in l. field, lituus; in r. field, B
Ex CNG E354, 1 July 2015, lot 367.

An extremely rare RPC Group 2 (regnal year 2) Tetradrachm from Antioch. This is visually one of the more impressive obverse designs struck by the mint. Vespasian, draped, is majestically depicted above an eagle about to take flight. The symbolism is perhaps divine in nature. There are two variations of this type: one with a lituus in the reverse left field, as seen here, and the other with a star. Both have roughly the same frequency rating. The style is 'Alexandrian', indicating at the very least the die was prepared there and perhaps struck at Antioch. This was a time of massive military activity leading up to Titus' siege of Jerusalem, which explains his prominent presence on the reverse.

Beautiful style and a thick flan, a most stunning piece.

7 commentsDavid AthertonJul 07, 2015
RPC1950obv.jpg
RPC-1950-Vespasian83 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 11.50g
Antioch mint, 71-72 AD
RPC 1950 (9 spec.).
Obv: AVTOKPAT KAIΣA•OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ETOYC Δ IEPOV; Eagle standing l., on club; in l. field, palm branch

An Antioch Group 3 tetradrachm struck in regnal year 4. Stylistically this coin displays all the hallmarks of the Alexandrian workshop. Most likely the coin was either engraved at Alexandria and then struck at Antioch, or produced in Antioch by Alexandrian engravers. Historically at the time this coin was minted the mopping up operations of the last strongholds of Jewish resistance in Judaea were being carried out by Lucilius Bassus at Herodium and Machareus, and later by Flavius Silva at Masada.

Although a bit underweight (11.5g), the coin is in fine style and decent condition. Perhaps poor quality silver explains the low weight.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJul 02, 2015
D656sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-656103 viewsAR Denarius, 3.44g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 656 (R). BMC 147. RSC 246. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XVII COS XIIII CENS•P•P•P•; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Solidus Numismatics, eBay, 17 June 2015.

Domitian did not take the consulship in 89, so this rare denarius is dated by TR P VIII between September 88 and September 89. The date can be further narrowed down by the 17th imperial acclamation. A military diploma dated 7 November, 88 records Domitian as IMP XVII, so this issue must have been struck briefly at the end of 88, perhaps just a month or so due to the rarity of the acclamation number on the denarii. Domitian's imperial acclamations were piling up fairly rapidly during this time period due to increased military activity along the Danube.

A solid denarius in fine style.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJun 29, 2015
D519asm.jpg
Domitian RIC-51967 viewsAR Denarius, 3.14g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 519 (C). BMC 113. RSC 223a. BNC 111.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)

Denarii with TR P VII struck in 87 are a bit less common than those with TR P VI, due to the shorter time frame the coins were minted (14 Sept - 31 Dec). No military campaigns are known for 87, hence no new imperial acclamations are recorded on the denarii. The issues for this year are strictly dated by the COS and TR P numbers. The style is similar to the denarii from 86.

Nicely toned with a neat and fine stately portrait.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 23, 2015
RPC1980a.jpeg
RPC-1980-Domitian96 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.07g
Antioch mint, 91-92 AD
RPC 1980 (12 spec.).
Obv: AYTO KAIΣAP ΔOMITIANOΣ ΣEB ΓEPM; Bust of Domitian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: ETOYΣ NEOV IEPOY ENΔEKATOY; Eagle with wings spread on thunderbolt to l., head r., with wreath in beak; in r. field, palm branch
Acquired from Münzhandlung Ritter, June 2015.

Domitian's Antiochene tetradrachms are in general not very common. This type from regnal year 11 is probably the most common of the series and RPC only found 12 specimens in the core collections consulted. These tetradrachms are struck in a finer style than the first two issues, paralleling a change in style seen on coins from Alexandria around the same time. RPC speculates the whole Antiochene Domitianic series is 'Alexandrian'. The dies possibly engraved in Alexandria and the coins struck in Antioch. It's also of interest to note that the use of "Σ" instead of "C" is an Alexandrian trait as well. Kevin Butcher believes Domitian's tetradrachms struck from year 11 onward are 'Antiochene'.

A very stylish portrait characterised by a heavy brow, a common trait seen on Domitian's later Antiochene tetradrachms. A wonderful piece in hand with a beautiful chocolate patina.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 19, 2015
D728c.jpeg
Domitian RIC-72882 viewsAR Denarius, 3.23g
Rome mint, 92 AD
RIC 728 (C3). BMC 187. RSC 273. BNC 174.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Ancient Treasures, eBay, 7 June 2015.

The first issue of denarii in 92 was quite massive and certainly one of the largest of the reign. Domitian's military campaigns against the Suebi and Sarmatians during this time period may account in part for the heightened mint activity.

Competent craftsmanship which produced a neat and fine portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJun 15, 2015
D771aabest.jpeg
Domitian RIC-77197 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 95 AD
RIC 771 (C2). BMC 223. RSC 289. BNC 201.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minverva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, June 2015.

Domitian held the consulship in 95, which dates this denarius between 1 January and 13 September of that year. Brian Jones speculates that during 95/96 Domitian waged a campaign against the Iazyges in the vicinity of Singidunum. This military activity may account for the large issues of denarii struck during the final years of the reign.

A rounded, youthful looking portrait of Domitian is seen here. Interestingly, a mound of hair is perched atop the balding emperor, showcasing flattering and competent craftsmanship by the engraver. Honest wear with good toning.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJun 08, 2015
RPC1651a.jpg
RPC-1651-Vespasian (1)120 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.77g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 76-77 AD
RPC 1651 (19 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ΔOMITIANOC KAICAP CЄB YIO ЄT Θ; Domitian standing, l., holding branch
Ex Pegasi VAuction 32, 19 May 2015, lot 314.

For dynastic reasons Vespasian frequently featured his sons on the coinage, even in far-flung provinces. Here we see Domitian "son of the Augustus" togate as consul, holding an olive branch in a suggestion of peace.

Although a bit worn, it's a decent example in good "local" style, similar to the denarii struck at Ephesus.
7 commentsDavid AthertonMay 27, 2015
V853b.JPG
Vespasian RIC-853190 viewsAR Denarius, 3.41g
Rome mint, 76 AD
RIC 853 (R2). BMC p. 34 note. RSC 374. BNC 161.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, bare, l.
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS VII; Pax, bare to the waist, seated l., holding branch extended in r. hand, l. hand on lap
Ex Private Collection.

An extremely rare denarius from 76. Left facing, bare head, and COS VII combine to make this an exceptional coin. This is the 7th known specimen: Berlin, Paris, Gemini 2013, Curtis Clay 2010, Private collection, and ebay 2003 (RIC plate coin) are the other examples. All have the same obverse die, Clay 2010 and my coin are die pair matches. These bare portraits were struck with the Pax reverse in both 75 (unique) and in 76. Why the engraver chose an unlaureate bust is a mystery. Perhaps struck in error, which would explain why so few were minted.

I haven't seen a photo of the other unique bare head Pax type from 75 (RIC 773, Vecchi 13, lot 757), but Curtis Clay has confirmed it is a different obverse die and may possibly read COS VII! If true, the bare l. portrait was only struck with the COS VII Pax. Only having the coin in hand will solve the mystery for certain. *

A compact and neat portrait emphasising Vespasian's militaristic look.

* See my RIC 773 for confirmation of the bare head portrait in 75, added December 2017.
8 commentsDavid AthertonMay 18, 2015
D762asm.jpg
Domitian RIC-76233 viewsAR Denarius, 3.33g
Rome mint, 93-94 AD
RIC 762 (C3). BMC 216. RSC 284. BNC 192.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minverva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)

A fairly large issue struck in the aftermath of the Second Pannonian War. Domitian celebrated only an ovatio upon his return and not a full triumph, perhaps due to unsatisfactory results.

Worn, but in decent style with a minor obverse flan flaw at 12h.
David AthertonMay 12, 2015
D820.JPG
Domitian RIC-820211 viewsAR Denarius, 2.99g
Rome mint, 96 AD
RIC 820 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XVI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Savoca Numismatik, eBay, 10 April 2015.

It is not often one can date a coin to within four or five days. This very rare denarius, part of Domitian's last issue, was struck in the span of just a few days between 14 September 96, when he assumed TR P XVI, and 18 September 96, the date of his assassination. As far as I know this is the third known example of the Minerva type 4 (all three from the same dies) from this issue, indicating just how rare it is. The TR P XVI date is also known for the M1, M3, winged Minerva, and Maia types. Most likely the mint immediately halted production once word reached them of the assassination, melting down all the new coinage that had not already been issued because of the Damnatio Memoriae decreed by the Senate against Domitian.

Engraved in typical late period style. Unusually, Domitian is seen here with neck wrinkles.
7 commentsDavid AthertonApr 30, 2015
RPC1977a.jpg
RPC-1977-Domitian112 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.23g
Antioch mint, 87-88 AD
RPC 1977 (3 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAIΣAP ΔOMITIANOC ΣEB ΓEPM; Bust of Domitian, laureate, r. with aegis
Rev: ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY Z; Eagle with with wings spread on thunderbolt to r.; in r. field, palm branch
Acquired from Tom Cederlind, April 2015.

A very rare year 7 tetradrachm struck in 'Alexandrian' style. Probably one of the rarer Antioch issues Domitian coined. RPC speculates that the tets in this style were either struck at Alexandria, or at the very least the dies were prepared there, and then shipped to Antioch for circulation. Compare this with my RPC 1978 in a more "Antiochene" style, IMHO.

Engraved in a fairly crude, but charming style. A fantastic piece overall.
7 commentsDavid AthertonApr 27, 2015
D429lg.jpg
Domitian RIC-42950 viewsAR Denarius, 3.12g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 429 (C). BMC 90. RSC 193. BNC 90.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XI COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side (M3)

Part of the first issue of 86, this denarius features the most common Minerva type (M3) for the issue. Not a die match with the RIC plate coin, however, it appears the same hand engraved both. Judging by the patina and flan condition it may possibly be a detectorist find.

In fine style and a decent specimen despite the flan chip. Forgive the poor photo quality which of course does it no justice.
David AthertonApr 21, 2015
RPC1648.jpg
RPC-1648-Vespasian88 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.76g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 76-77 AD
RPC 1648 (9 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: NIKH CЄBACTH; Nike on elongated base, advancing r., wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
Ex CNG E348, 8 April 2015, lot 526.

At first glance this didrachm appears to be the common Nike type struck at Caesarea, Cappadocia, but upon closer inspection one discovers it is in fact a rare, often overlooked, variant. Nike is seen here advancing right on an elongated base (the horizontal line in exergue). The more common version of this type has no such base. RPC consulted 24 specimens of the non base type and only 9 with the base, just to illustrate how much rarer this variant is. Oddly enough, RPC describes the non base type as Nike "standing right", as opposed to those with the base as"advancing right". Why this is so I cannot say.

Struck slightly off-center in good "local" style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonApr 17, 2015
RPC1978.jpg
RPC-1978-Domitian123 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.44g
Antioch mint, 88-89 AD
RPC 1978 (7 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAIΣAP ΔOMITIANOΣ ΣEB ΓEPM; Bust of Domitian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY H; Eagle with wings spread on thunderbolt to r.; in r. field, palm branch
Acquired from Münzhandlung Ritter, April 2015.

This tetradrachm of Domitian from Antioch was struck in "New Holy Year 8" of his reign and represents an excellent example in fine Antioch style. Earlier Domitian tetradrachms were either struck or engraved in Alexandria in a slightly cruder fashion. These year 8 tetradrachms are artistically much more pleasing. RPC speculates the whole Domitianic series is "Alexandrian". It's of interest to note that the Alexandrian coinage underwent a vast stylistic improvement around year 10 or 11, perhaps corresponding with the better style seen in the Antiochene tets from year 8 onward. The use of "Σ" instead of "C" is an Alexandrian trait as well.

A lovely regal portrait with beautiful chocolate toning.
7 commentsDavid AthertonApr 14, 2015
D689c.jpg
Domitian RIC-689109 viewsAR Denarius, 3.41g
Rome mint, 90 AD
RIC 689 (C2). BMC 164. RSC 261. BNC 157.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, April 2015.

This denarius exemplifies the fine quality and high standards the Rome mint upheld during Domitian's reign, even during large issues such as this one struck in 90 AD. No new imperial acclamations are recorded for Domitian in 90. He became COS XV on 1 January and continued to be TR P VIIII until mid September.

A superb portrait struck on a large flan (20mm) and well centred. A very respectable denarius.
1 commentsDavid AthertonApr 07, 2015
RPC1650.JPG
RPC-1650-Vespasian109 viewsAR Didrachm, 7.22g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, 76-77 AD
RPC 1650 (38 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: AYTO KAI OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBACTOY YIOC, Head of Titus, laureate, r.

Caesarea, Cappadocia struck a fairly large issue of silver coins in 76/77 AD. There are two distinct styles: "Roman" (6 o'clock die axis) struck at Rome for Cappadocia , and "local" (12 o'clock die axis) struck at Caesarea. This didrachm, struck in local style, features a portrait of Titus on the reverse and probably is the most common type minted at Caesarea. This reverse emphasised Vespasian's desire to found a dynasty with Titus as his heir and mirrors those minted at Antioch and Alexandria, evidence of how important this message was to the imperial authorities.

A coin in very fine style (similar to denarii struck at Ephesus) and struck on a thick flan with dark toning.
8 commentsDavid AthertonMar 30, 2015
RPC1661.jpg
RPC-1661-Titus65 viewsAR Hemidrachm, 1.55g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, undated
RPC 1661 (8 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPATWP TITOC KAICAP CЄBA; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: No legend; Nike standing, r., with wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand
Acquired from Civitas Galleries, March 2015.

The only silver issue struck by Titus as Augustus at Caesarea during his brief reign were these tiny hemidrachms with the standard Nike reverse. Vespasian also issued this type.

Struck a bit off-center, but with all the major devices present and in a pleasing style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMar 19, 2015
RPC2403.jpg
RPC-2403-Vespasian105 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.56g
Alexandria mint, 69 AD
RPC 2403 (9 spec.).
Obv: AYT TIT ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠAΣIAN KAIΣ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LA before neck
Rev: PΩ-MH; Roma standing l., with spear and shield
Ex Roma E16, 28 February 2015, lot 268.

The first coins struck for Vespasian anywhere in the empire are those dated "Year 1" (LA) from Alexandria Egypt. The two legions stationed there under the Prefect Tiberius Julius Alexander were the first to declare him emperor. According to Tacitus - "The first move to convey imperial status to Vespasian took place at Alexandria. This was due to the eagerness of Tiberius Alexander, who caused his legions to swear allegiance to the new emperor on 1 July" (Hist 2.79). The year 1 coins were struck between 1 July and 28 August. The obverse legend of these first coins lack the title Augustus (sebastos). However, those dated Year 2 (29 August 69 - 28 August 70) include the title, which is strong evidence that Vespasian did not immediately adopt it during the first two months of his reign. Vespasian did not arrive in Alexandria until December, so the Alexandrian die engravers probably had no idea of the new emperor's appearance. Vespasian's portrait on this coin is far removed from the more traditional bald, "straining" appearance we are used to. It is interesting to note this tetradrachm was struck nearly 6 months before the senate in Rome recognised Vespasian as emperor and the first imperial coins in his name were struck there.

Roma had previously been featured on the Alexandrian coinage of Galba, although as a bust and not the standing figure seen here.

A hefty coin in hand with an unusually "pinched" portrait and interesting reverse.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 16, 2015
RPC2414b.jpg
RPC-2414-Vespasian49 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 11.94g
Alexandria mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 2414 (19 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYVEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LB before neck
Rev: AΛEΞAN-ΔPEIA; Alexandria standing, l., with wreath and sceptre
Ex Roma E16, 28 February 2015, lot 269.

An interesting reverse type struck in year 2 of Vespasian's reign. The personification of Alexandria (or Alexander the Great?) is seen here offering a victor's wreath, presumably to Vespasian, and holding a sceptre. It's an important propaganda type when you consider Vespasian was still consolidating his power base at the time this coin was issued.

Deeply toned and struck in a typical "Alexandrian" style. A most wonderful piece in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 12, 2015
RPC1973d.jpg
RPC-1973-Vespasian110 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.19g
Antioch mint, 71-72 AD
RPC 1973 (13 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPATΩP OYECΠACIANOC KAICAP CЄBACTOC: Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOYIЄPOY Δ: Eagle, l., standing on garlanded altar, head r., caduceus in beak, palm l.

A RPC group 8 tetradrachm in very fine 'Antioch' style featuring a strong, stately portrait. The eagle depicted on an altar with caduceus is a divine messenger between heaven and earth. This group is stylistically linked to the later Cypriot tetradrachms with similar left facing portraits. This coin is an obverse die match with the RPC plate coin (Paris).

A substantial piece in hand with a wonderful, large portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 04, 2015
RPC1942x.jpg
RPC-1942-Vespasian85 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.44g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1942 (12 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l., with drapery on far shoulder
Rev: T ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠ KAIΣ•ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY; Laureate Head of Titus, r.; in l. field, star; in r. field, B
Acquired from Athena Numismatics, February 2015.

A RPC group 2 tetradrachm attributed to Antioch, but style wise very similar to Alexandria. RPC speculates these Alexandrian style tetradrachms were either struck in Alexandria and then shipped to Antioch, or less likely Alexandrian mint workers were temporarily striking coins in Antioch. At any rate, there was a massive output of silver from Antioch just prior to and after the siege of Jerusalem and apparently the Antioch mint was supplemented by the only other major mint in the region to meet demands. Titus was put in charge of the siege by Vespasian, which is most likely why he figured prominently in the region's coinage. These coins are found in hoards all over Judaea, indicating they were used for military pay.

I'm quite attracted to this coin's almost crude 'Alexandrian' style. A lovely big and chunky piece in hand.
5 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 17, 2015
RPC1801b.jpg
RPC-1801-Vespasian165 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 11.50g
Antioch mint (for Cyprus), 75-76 AD
RPC 1801 (16 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPATΩP OYЄCΠACIANOC KAICAP; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOY IЄPOY H; Zeus Salaminios standing facing, holding patera in r. hand, l. hand resting on a short sceptre; eagle on l. arm
Acquired from Herakles Numismatics, February 2015.

Style and legend format link this Cypriot series to Antioch's tetradrachm and bronze issues. RPC II proposes these coins were actually struck in Antioch and then sent to Cyprus for circulation. Very likely this is the case since the minting of silver was highly centralised and controlled by the imperial government. The date off flan should read year 8 (H). Obverse die match with Gorny & Mosch Auction 134, 11 October 2004, lot 2079.

This coin has one of the most extraordinary portraits of Vespasian I've ever seen. The engraver has depicted the emperor as an elderly, overweight glutton - it's utterly fantastic!
10 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 12, 2015
D727.jpg
Domitian RIC-72756 viewsAR Denarius, 3.17g
Rome mint, 91 AD
RIC 727 (C). BMC 186. RSC 267. BNC 172.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Den of Antiquity, eBay, January 2015.

This common denarius was struck between 14 September and 31 December 91. All four standard Minerva types were minted for this issue with no unusual deviations.

A decently styled denarius struck on good metal.
2 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 02, 2015
D441sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-441163 viewsAR Denarius, 3.38g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 441 (R). BMC p. 319, §. RSC 201. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V•; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Numismeo, January 2015.

Domitian's imperial acclamations were piling up fairly rapidly in 86 due to ongoing battles being fought along the Danube. This denarius from the second issue of 86 records his 12th imperial acclamation. Many of the denarii of 86 are rendered in fine style and are quite scarce, this coin being a delightful example of such.

A stunning portrait on a large flan (21mm!). Aurei and denarii often shared dies in this issue, I can't help but think the dies which struck this coin were meant for both.
9 commentsDavid AthertonJan 29, 2015
D68.JPG
Domitian RIC 68108 viewsAR Denarius, 3.08g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 68 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt

The early pulvinar denarii struck by Domitian tell the story of an emperor who was awarded titles in stages. The "PONT" series were minted before Domitian obtained the full title Pontifex Maximus, presumably until the proper religious rites were completed. Most "PONT" denarii are listed as R2 or R3. Interestingly, this Group 4 denarius shares the same obverse die as my very rare Group 3 RIC 34 with the same reverse type but with a different legend, proof that the two groups were struck simultaneously. At this time the mint was divided up into different officinae based on reverse types. No obverses die matches are found with different reverse types.

A great early style portrait and finely toned.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJan 19, 2015
RPC1947b.jpg
RPC-1947-Vespasian74 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.40g
Antioch mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 1947 (7 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ETOYΣ Γ IEPOY; Eagle standing l., on club; in l. field, palm branch

Many of the tetradrachms struck at Antioch, such as this example, have an 'Alexandrian' style about them. The dies to those coins with this peculiar style are thought to have been engraved in Alexandria and then struck at Antioch. Perhaps the demands of a region at war with thousands of legionaries to pay outstripped the capabilities of the Antioch mint, which could explain why some of the work was outsourced to another mint. These tetradrachms are found all throughout Israel in hoards and single finds, good evidence that they were indeed used to pay the troops during and after the Jewish war. This specimen dates to just after the siege of Jerusalem.

A hefty coin in hand with a crude but delightful portrait. Struck on a thick flan.
1 commentsDavid AthertonJan 15, 2015
V1446dark.jpg
09a Domitian as Caesar RIC 1446111 viewsAR Denarius, 3.04g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1446 (C). BMC 470. RSC 38. RPC 847 (10 spec.). BNC 363.
Obv: DOMITIANVS CAESAR AVG F; Bust of Domitian, cuirassed, seen from front, Medusa head on breast of cuirass, fold of cloak on left shoulder, head bare, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue, EPHE
Acquired from Lucernae, eBay, January 2015.

In Domitian's first imperial coinage issue he was given special treatment regarding the bust type chosen. The engravers at Ephesus depicted him cuirassed with a cloak draped over his left shoulder. Vespasian and Titus were not engraved so elaborately (although at Antioch Titus' bust is draped). Why this is so is a mystery. Unusually Domitian shares the same reverse types as Vespasian and Titus in this series, unlike at Rome where he largely had his own unique types. This Ceres reverse is probably the most common of his Ephesus denarii.

A worn coin to be sure, but the handsome bust shines through the wear.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJan 12, 2015
D48a.jpg
Domitian RIC 4852 viewsAR Denarius, 2.96g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 48 (C). BMC 18. RSC 570. BNC 17.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Curule chair, wreath above
Acquired from Lucernae, eBay, December 2014.

This fairly common denarius was struck towards the end of 81 and is part of the group 4 denarii, the largest issue of the year. The curule chair reverse is a carry-over from the pulvinaria types struck by Titus. Presumably the mint had no new reverse types in readiness for Domitian and had to recycled those from the previous reign.

A good, early style portrait struck on a tight flan.
David AthertonJan 05, 2015
D787b.JPG
Domitian RIC-78747 viewsAR Denarius, 3.26g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 787 (C2). BMC 230. RSC 292. BNC 206.
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; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)

Domitian did not take the consulship in 96, so this denarius is dated by TR P XV between mid September 95 and mid September 96. No new imperial acclamations are recorded for the time period either, he remains IMP XXII throughout this massive issue.

A neat and fine portrait in good metal.

David AthertonDec 31, 2014
D425.JPG
Domitian RIC-425119 viewsAR Denarius, 3.06g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 425 (R). BMC 88. RSC 194. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XI COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)

A rare denarius from the first issue of 86. It records Domitian's 11th imperial acclamation from the First Dacian War and can be somewhat closely dated between 1 January and the Spring (he received his 12th imperial acclamation between 17 March and 13 May).

The style is a continuation of that seen in the issues of 85 - very idealised with large, high quality portraits.
2 commentsDavid AthertonDec 29, 2014
V976.jpg
05a Domitian as Caesar RIC 97684 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 77-78 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 976 (C). BMC 323. RSC 30. BNC 285.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CERES AVGVST; Ceres stg. l., with corn ears and poppy and sceptre
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, December 2014.

Vespasian and Titus normally shared reverse types, but rarely with Domitian. Unusually this Ceres type was struck for all three. It possibly was part of an agrarian themed series Vespasian issued towards the end of his reign. These later issues of Vespasian have neat small portrait heads.

The coin features a pleasant looking Domitian with his trademark protruding upper lip, struck on a large flan.
2 commentsDavid AthertonDec 22, 2014
RIC_V356_RIC_1553.jpg
Vespasian RIC 356 and RIC 1553199 viewsAR denarius
Rome mint, 72-73 AD
RIC 356 (C3), BMC 64, RSC 45
And
Antioch mint, 72-73 AD
RIC 1553 (R3), BMC - , RSC - , RPC -

The first denarius is the common Rome mint example of the priestly implements type. The second coin is the same type struck at Antioch. Notice how the Antioch specimen has the trademark crude lettering style of that mint. Also, the second coin's portrait is reminiscent of contemporary tetradrachms struck in the 'Antioch' style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonDec 15, 2014
V1553.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1553171 viewsAR Denarius, 3.32g
Antioch mint, 72-73 AD
RIC 1553 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: AVGVR above TRI POT below; priestly implements
Ex Ibercoin Auction 18.1, 3 December 2014, lot 5106.

The denarii struck at Antioch often copied reverse types struck at Rome. The priestly implements reverse is a quite common type for Rome but exceedingly rare at Antioch. This is the second known specimen of the type issued from Antioch, a die pair match with the other example sold by G&M in 2004, the RIC plate coin. The obverse is also a die match with my very rare RIC 1557 Victory type. The coin is attributed to Antioch based on style - the lettering being a dead giveaway.

A fantastic example nicely centered and in excellent condition.
5 commentsDavid AthertonDec 15, 2014
D690a.jpg
Domitian RIC-69069 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome mint, 90 AD
RIC 690 (C2). BMC 166. RSC 262. BNC 158.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r., on capital of rostral column, with spear and sheild; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Zuzim, December 2014.

No new imperial acclamations are recorded for Domitian in 90. He became COS XV on 1 January and continued to be TR P VIIII until mid September.

A coin with an artistic portrait and in excellent condition. Part of Domitian's beard is still visible under his chin.
2 commentsDavid AthertonDec 08, 2014
D661.jpg
Domitian RIC-661139 viewsAR Denarius, 3.13g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 661 (R). BMC 150. RSC 244. BNC 141.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XVII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from CNG, November 2014.

All the coins that record Domitian's 17th imperial salutation are quite rare. Most likely it was awarded for some long forgotten battle during the campaign against the Dacians. A military diploma dated 7 November, 88 records Domitian as IMP XVII, so this issue must have been struck briefly at the end of 88 and/or very early in 89.

The portrait style is quite superb. The engravers at Rome were really doing some outstanding work during this time period.


8 commentsDavid AthertonDec 01, 2014
T2aPS.jpg
Titus RIC 02143 viewsAR Denarius, 3.17g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 2 (R2). BMC specimen acquired 1934. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP T CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: ANNONA AVG; Annona std. l., with sack of corn ears

The Annona reverse type struck for Titus Caesar is quite common and copies the same reverse struck contemporarily for Vespasian. It was also struck briefly for Titus after becoming emperor on 24 June, 79 AD. The type is very rare for him as Augustus, perhaps minted in the space of a week prior to the TR P VIIII dating on 1 July. Evidently the mint did not have new reverse types prepared for the new princeps and so recycled those struck for him as Caesar during that first week.

This is an extremely rare type for Titus as Augustus and certainly the rarest of the first issue. The new RIC cites three specimens (BM, Vienna, private collection), mine will make the fourth that I know of and it is a die match with the BM specimen.

Better in hand than the photo indicates.
9 commentsDavid AthertonNov 27, 2014
RPC1971.jpg
RPC-1971-Vespasian57 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.66g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1971 (9 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPATΩP KAICAP CЄBACTOC OYECΠACIANOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ETOYΣ NЄOY•IЄPOY•B; Eagle with wreath in beak on a club to l.; in l. field, palm branch
Acquired from Ancient Imports, November 2014.

The 69-70 time period saw large issues of tetradrachms minted at Antioch, most likely due to the massive military operations in nearby Judaea involved with crushing the Jewish revolt. Titus Caesar mounted the siege of Jerusalem during the spring and summer of 70 when this coin was struck.

In fine 'Antiochene' style featuring a smiling Vespasian.
2 commentsDavid AthertonNov 10, 2014
RPC1968.jpg
RPC-1968-Titus as Caesar103 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.93g
Caesarea Maritima mint, 70-71 AD
RPC 1968 (1 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKP TITOΣ KAIΣ OYEΣΠ; Bust of Titus, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: ETOYΣ Γ IEPOY; Eagle standing, l., with wreath in beak on palm branch; club in l. field
Acquired from Roy's Coins, October 2014.

After the siege and sack of Jerusalem in August 70 AD, Titus Caesar spent three days outside the ruined city with his legions handing out rewards and spoils. Josephus tells us what followed next - "Then descending with his army to Caesarea-on-sea, he there deposited the bulk of his spoils and directed that his prisoners should be kept in custody; for the winter season prevented his sailing for Italy" (BJ 7.20). Presumably it is during the sojourn at Caesaera Maritima that this tetradrachm was struck. The coin dates to just after the fall of Jerusalem and is part of the group 6 Syrian tetradrachms. However, the style is fairly crude and the silver fineness variable, all evidence of a military issue. Titus is featured prominently in the series (no doubt due to his recent successful conclusion of the Jewish War) and the style is similar to other bronze coins attributed to Caesarea Maritima. With that in mind, the mint for this issue is most likely Caesarea Maritima and dates to the days or weeks after the fall of Jerusalem as part of the rewards Titus distributed to his triumphant troops.

RPC catalogues two rare versions of this type: one with the obverse legend starting at 6 o'clock (RPC 1967) and an even rarer variant with the legend starting at 12 o'clock (RPC 1968). This specimen is the rarer 12 o'clock variant.

The coin is well worn, but with clear devices and a wonderfully crude portrait. It's so thick that it reminds one not so much of a coin but of a large hunk of stamped metal.
5 commentsDavid AthertonNov 04, 2014
RPC2468.jpg
RPC-2468-Titus82 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.30g
Alexandria mint, 80-81 AD
RPC 2468 (14 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK TITOY KAIΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY ΣEB; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: ΣAPA-ΠIΣ; bust of Sarapis, r., date LΓ before bust
Acquired from Zurqieh, October 2015.

During Titus' brief reign Alexandria only struck coinage for regnal years 2 and 3. This tetradrachm from regnal year 3 features the very standard Egyptian reverse type of Sarapis, a type not minted for Vespasian's tetradrachms.

Struck in a pleasing 'Alexandrian' style.

4 commentsDavid AthertonNov 03, 2014
IMG_0264sm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1477160 viewsAR Denarius, 2.58g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD
RIC 1477 (R). BMC 483. RSC 375a. RPC 1453 (7 spec.). BNC 371.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., a small 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: PON MAX TR P COS VII; Winged caduceus
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, October 2014.

These 'o' mint denarii (the 'o' is often not visible) struck for Vespasian, Titus Caesar, and Domitian Caesar are thought to have been minted at Ephesus due to a similar 'o' mint mark previously used at that mint. The types are the same as those struck somewhat contemporaneously at Rome. Mules are a hallmark of the series, perhaps indicating a lack of care in their production. The cadeceus type here is not a mule and copies a Rome reverse of Vespasian from 74.

Curtis Clay wrote these insightful comments concerning the series - "You write, 'thought to have been minted at Ephesus due to a similar 'o' mint mark previously used at that mint'. I regard that as a clear mistake by Buttrey and Carradice. Yes, annulets appear on some late Ephesus denarii too, but everything else is against attributing this later annulet series to Ephesus. Ephesus had its own reverse types, faithfully repeated from issue to issue. But the new series copies its rev. types from Rome, as you note. Ephesus had its own obv. legends too, usually dated with consulships. Quite different in the new series, again copied from Rome. The style is totally different. Errors, such as calling Titus PON MAX and many mules mixing obverses of one emperor with reverses of another, occur only in the later series, never at Ephesus. Against these blatant differences, the shared annulets are I think a mere trifle. A clear case of different mints in my eyes! So 'Ephesus (?)' should be dropped, and we should return to 'uncertain Asia Minor mint'."

Porous and fairly worn, however the major devices are intact and the portrait is quite fine.



6 commentsDavid AthertonOct 29, 2014
RPC1669.jpg
RPC-1669-Domitian81 viewsAR Didrachm, 6.70g
Rome mint (for Cappadocia), 93-94 AD
RPC 1669 (55 spec.).
Obv: AYT KAI ΔOMITIANOC CЄBACTOC ΓЄPM; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTO ΙΓ; Athena standing, r., holding owl in r. hand, spear in l. hand
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, October 2014.

During Domitian's reign Minerva dominated the silver coinage of Rome, so it's not surprising to see her Greek guise Athena on this silver didrachm struck in Rome for distribution in Cappadocia. Here Athena can be seen holding an owl and spear, a type not minted for Minerva in Rome. Rome is attributed to be the mint by both style and the 6 o'clock die axis. This didrachm is prime evidence of some sort of central control over the precious metal issues during the Flavian era. Tariffed at 2 denarii.

Good 'Rome' style portrait
5 commentsDavid AthertonOct 27, 2014
RPC1970d.jpg
RPC-1970-Vespasian85 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.25g
Antioch mint, 69 AD
RPC 1970 (9 spec.).
Obv: AVTOKPATΩP KAICAP CЄBACTOC OYECΠACIANOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ETOYC NEOY IEPOY A; Eagle with wreath in beak standing, l. on club; in l. field, palm branch
Acquired from Tom Cederlind, October 2014.

Vespasian was proclaimed emperor in Alexandria Egypt on 1 July 69 and the legions in Antioch followed suit a week or so later. "At Antioch gold and silver currencies were struck" according to Tacitus in 'The Histories' - and here is one of those coins. Struck between mid July and 30 September 69 this early tetradrachm was probably minted to help finance Vespasian's rise to the purple. These issues are found in hoards all over Judaea, indicating they were also used to pay the legions stationed there involved with crushing the ongoing Jewish revolt. This coin even now has some of the Judaean dirt still clinging to it.

Struck in good 'Antioch' style the coin is better in hand than my feeble attempt at photography would otherwise indicate.


2 commentsDavid AthertonOct 21, 2014
D733a.jpg
Domitian RIC-73399 viewsAR Denarius, 3.58g
Rome mint, 92 AD
RIC 733 (C3). BMC 194. RSC 271. BNC 179.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, October 2014.

Here is a very common denarius struck between 1 January - 13 September 92 at a time of extremely high mint activity. The issue is the largest of the reign according to hoard finds (See Carradice, Coinage and Finances in the Reign of Domitian 1983). Domitian was campaigning against the Suebi and Sarmatians during 92, perhaps accounting for such an extraordinary output of coins.

The coin is in very fine style and struck on a tight flan. A most beautiful piece in hand.
3 commentsDavid AthertonOct 18, 2014
D98sm.jpg
Domitian RIC 9897 viewsAR Denarius, 2.84g
Rome mint, 82 AD
RIC 98 (C). BMC 24. RSC 592. BNC 34.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR POT COS VIII P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)

This denarius was struck in the early 82, prior to Domitian's overhaul of the mint later that same year when the fineness of the denarius was increased and the reverse types changed over to new designs. The type of Minverva advancing right was issued for Domitian as Caesar under Titus and continued to be struck for him as Augustus. This reverse design survived the mint reorganisation and became one of the four standard Minerva types used on his denarii from 83 until the end of the reign.

Struck on a tight flan in good early style.

3 commentsDavid AthertonOct 09, 2014
RPC2412.jpg
RPC-2412-Vespasian73 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.79g
Alexandria mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 2412 (37 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYVEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LB before neck
Rev: No Legend; Nike flying l., with wreath and palm

Struck during Vespasian's second regnal year in Alexandria (29 August 69 to 28 August 70), this early tetradrachm is in surprisingly good Alexandrian style. Most of these early tetradrachms were struck in a some what crude style, happily this one was not! The reverse design of Nike is a continuation of a type previously minted for Vitellius at Alexandria.

In good condition and fairly well centered.

2 commentsDavid AthertonOct 06, 2014
D773a.jpg
Domitian RIC-77360 viewsAR Denarius, 3.38g
Rome mint, 95 AD
RIC 773 (C2). BMC 226. RSC 286. BNC 203.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, September 2014.

This denarius records Domitian's 17th consulship, dating it between January and September 95. The issue it is from is one which wholly consists of the four standard Minerva types with no deviations. The production levels at the Rome mint remained high in 95, possibly because of a third Pannonian war Domitian waged in 95-96.

It's a good example of the late portrait style featuring a supremely quaffed Domitian.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 29, 2014
D518a.jpg
Domitian RIC-518107 viewsAR Denarius, 3.36g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 518 (C). BMC -. RSC 218a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT•AVG•GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•XIIII COS XIII CENS•P•P•P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, September 2014.

A wonderfully styled denarius from the 2nd issue of 87. Although listed in RIC as common it's oddly missing from the BM collection.

Struck on a fairly large flan (19.4mm) and in good metal.
4 commentsDavid AthertonSep 22, 2014
RPC2447.jpg
RPC-2447-Vespasian127 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 11.87g
Alexandria mint, 75-76 AD
RPC 2447 (14 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LH before neck
Rev: ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤΩΡ ΤΙΤΟΣ ΚΑΙΣΑΡ; laureate head of Titus, r.
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, September 2014. Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

Year 8 saw the last silver issue by Vespasian at Alexandria. This type with Titus Caesar on the reverse was the only tetradrachm type produced that year. By the time it was struck the style had become a bit more refined than those minted in year 1 or 2. Both portraits are in high Alexandrian style.

Well centered in good condition. A wonderful piece in hand.
5 commentsDavid AthertonSep 15, 2014
RPC1659a.JPG
RPC-1659-Vespasian51 viewsAR Hemidrachm, 1.41g
Caesarea, Cappadocia mint, undated
RPC 1659 (18 spec.).
Obv: AVTOKP KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBA; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: No legend; Nike advancing r., wreath in r. hand, palm in l. hand

All the hemidrachms from Caesarea were struck in "local style" and originate from that mint, as opposed to those coins in "Roman style" which were struck in Rome and shipped to Caesarea. Although undated they probably were minted in regnal year 9 (76/77).

Fairly worn, but in decent condition with all the main devices on flan.
1 commentsDavid AthertonSep 08, 2014
RPC2401sm.jpg
RPC-2401-Vespasian131 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.65g
Alexandria mint, 69 AD
RPC 2401 (25 spec.).
Obv: AYT TIT ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠAΣIAN KAIΣ ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LA before neck
Rev: EI-PH-NH; Eirene standing, l., with corn-ears and caduceus
Acquired from Almanumis, August 2014.

The first coins struck for Vespasian anywhere in the empire are those dated "Year 1" (LA) from Alexandria Egypt. The two legions stationed there under the Prefect Tiberius Julius Alexander were the first to declare him emperor. According to Tacitus - "The first move to convey imperial status to Vespasian took place at Alexandria. This was due to the eagerness of Tiberius Alexander, who caused his legions to swear allegiance to the new emperor on 1 July" (Hist 2.79). The year 1 coins were struck between 1 July and 28 August. The obverse legend of these first coins lack the title Augustus (sebastos). However, those dated Year 2 (29 August 69 - 28 August 70) include the title, which is strong evidence that Vespasian did not immediately adopt it during the first two months of his reign. Vespasian did not arrive in Alexandria until December, so the Alexandrian die engravers probably had no idea of the new emperor's appearance. Understandably, these early portraits have more than a passing similarity to those of Vitellius. It is interesting to note this tetradrachm was struck nearly 6 months before the senate in Rome recognised Vespasian as emperor and the first imperial coins in his name were struck there.

This tetradrachm displays the unique "Alexandrian" style quite well - a large squarish head, crudely engraved, with a thick mop of hair. Despite its lack of artistry and clunkiness, I quite adore this charming style. A chunky coin in hand.
5 commentsDavid AthertonAug 28, 2014
RPC1954a.jpg
RPC-1954-Vespasian120 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 14.97g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1954 (20 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPA OYEΠACIANOC KAICAP CЄBACTOC; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ЄTOYC NЄOY IЄPOY•B; Eagle with wreath in beak standing, l. on club; in l. field, palm branch
Acquired from Athena Numismatics, August 2014.

"At Antioch gold and silver currencies were struck" writes Tacitus in his book The Histories concerning the early activity of Vespasian in the Summer and Fall of 69 immediately after the Eastern legions acclaimed him emperor. Large numbers of tetradrachms were struck in 69-70, which would likely have been used for legionary payment. They show up in countless hoards in the region due to the increased military activity surrounding the Jewish Revolt. During this time period Titus led three legions which he used to conduct the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.

This tetradrachm is from group 4, attributed wholly to the Antioch mint by style. Groups 1-3 are thought to have been engraved in Alexandria Egypt due to their 'Alexandrian' style (see my RPC 1945). The Antioch mint engraved dies are much finer in style, this coin being a good example of that better quality. In high relief with a stunning portrait.
7 commentsDavid AthertonAug 25, 2014
D576.jpg
Domitian RIC-576118 viewsAR Denarius, 3.44g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 576 (C2). BMC 117. RSC 236. BNC 115.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG•GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear amd shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Pars Coins, August 2014.

Some of the denarii struck in 88 are quite exceptional in style. Both obverse and reverse dies on this denarius are good examples of that fine style, certianly not "Friday afternoon" dies. Very idealised and bordering on fine art. The fabric and centering are also quite choice. Part of the large first issue of 88.

6 commentsDavid AthertonAug 18, 2014
RPC1945a_.jpg
RPC-1945-Vespasian91 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.90g
Antioch mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 1945 (9 spec.).
Obv: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ETOYΣ B IEPOY; Eagle standing l., on club; in l. field, palm branch

The different series of tetradrachms minted at Antioch are divided into groups based on style and die links. This coin is part of group 3. Groups 1-3 stylistically are similar to contemporary tetradrachms struck at Alexandria. RPC speculates these groups may have had their dies engraved in Alexandria but were struck at Antioch. The style between the two mints for these groups are indeed very similar.

Historically these tetradrachms from Antioch were minted at a time when Titus was left in charge of the Jewish war by Vespasian and waged the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. The Roman legions under Titus were paid with these coins, which show up in countless hoards in Judaea.

Nice and chunky, this example has a decent 'Alexandrian' styled portrait.
2 commentsDavid AthertonAug 11, 2014
RPC2411.jpg
RPC-2411-Vespasian79 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 12.79g
Alexandria mint, 69-70 AD
RPC 2411 (43 spec.).
Obv: AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., date LB before neck
Rev: EI-PH-NH; Eirene standing l., with corn-ears and caduceus
Acquired from MUSA, August 2014.

Alexandria was the first city to proclaim for Vespasian in July 69 and most likely was the first mint to strike coins for him. This coin is dated year 2. Alexandrian years began on 29 August, so it was minted between 29 August 69 and 28 August 70. Vespasian did not initially accept the title ΣEBA (Augustus) on the year one issue, but did so by year 2. The reverse type of Eirene was quite a common reverse and was a very appropriate type for the new emperor to strike during an ongoing civil war. The Alexandrian tetradrachm was worth the same as a denarius.

A really great example of the type in wonderful Alexandrian style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonAug 04, 2014
D507.jpg
Domitian RIC-507121 viewsAR Denarius, 3.54g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 507 (C). BMC 103. RSC 218. BNC 104.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•XIIII COS XIII CENS•P•P•P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear amd shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from CGB, July 2014.

The first denarius issue of 87 continued in the same style and format as those of 86 (an unadorned, idealised portrait with the four basic Minervas on the reverse), setting a tone the rest of the reign for the denarii. These issues were quite small compared with what was to come over the next nine years. This coin from the first issue has a very idealised portrait in the Flavian baroque style. Icy cool with an expression of "critical disdain" as C. H. V. Sutherland put it in his book "Roman Coins".

Struck on a large flan and well centred. Unusually, a bit of Domitian's beard is visible as well.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJul 28, 2014
D722.jpg
Domitian RIC-72255 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 90-91 AD
RIC 722 (C2). BMC 182. RSC 263. BNC 170.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P X; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Ken Dorney, July 2014.

Domitian did not assume the consulship in 91, so this coin is dated by the tribunician title from mid-September 90 to mid-September 91. The basic four Minerva reverse types dominate this series.

A common coin in fair style. The coins from this issue certainly vary widely in quality!
David AthertonJul 21, 2014
D43.jpg
Domitian RIC 4362 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 43 (C2). BMC 23. RSC 577. BNC 22.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Altar, garlanded and lighted
Acquired from Ancient Imports, July 2014.

This lighted altar reverse is a pulvinar type struck by Domitian as Caesar under Titus and continued to be struck for him as Augustus. It may represent the pulvinar of Vesta and Vulcan. The fact this type was struck under both Titus and Domitian indicates little interruption in mint activity between the two reigns.

A respectable coin in fine early style reminiscent of those struck under Titus.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 14, 2014
D569.jpg
Domitian RIC-569120 viewsAR Denarius, 3.21g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 569 (R). BMC 140. RSC 26a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG GERMANIC COS XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CENS P•P•P• across field; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Roma E9, 30 June 2014, lot 447.

Early in 88 a remarkable series of rare issues were struck. The mark of these issues were the full spelling of GERMANICVS (also GERMANIC) on the obverse, and the reverse featuring short legends written across the field. The flans are normally large and the style quite fine. Perhaps this exceptional series is commemorative in nature: the year was full of military activity and of course the Saecular Games were held. Unusually, the TR P and IMP numbers are missing from the issue.

This denarius has all the hallmarks of this quality issue. A real beauty in hand. Same dies as the BM specimen (RIC II plate coin).
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 10, 2014
D732a.jpg
Domitian RIC-73248 viewsAR Denarius, 3.47g
Rome mint, 92 AD
RIC 732 (C3). BMC 192. RSC 272. BNC 178.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Zuzim, May 2014.

Struck during a time of frenzied mint activity (one of the largest issues of Domitian's 15 year reign), this coin showcases the strict quality control imposed on the coinage by Domitian. The portraits are noble and idealised, the fineness high and consistent. Historical note: Domitian was campaigning against the Suebi and Sarmatians during 92, perhaps accounting for such a large issue.

Because this coin was struck in the midst of a massive issue, it is what I would consider a prototypical Domitian denarius - in good style and metal with average wear featuring one of the four standard Minerva reverse types.
David AthertonJul 07, 2014
D669.jpg
Domitian RIC-66971 viewsAR Denarius, 3.02g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 669 (C3). BMC 153. RSC 251. BNC 147.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIX COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Ken Dorney, June 2014.

The fourth issue of 88-89 records Domitian's 19th imperial acclamation, the largest issue by far of the time period. With wars being fought against both the Chatti and the Dacians the awards were coming fairly quickly one after another. Also, the revolt of the rebel legate Saturnius occurred in January of 89. Domitian did not take up the consulship in 89 (presumably he was away from Rome on campaign), so the imperial acclamations are the only way to differentiate the separate issues. T.V. Buttrey has proposed that his 19th salutation may in fact be for the victory over Saturnius, dressed up as a German victory (via private correspondence).

A decent coin with some minor corrosion featuring a sorrowful looking Domitian. Better in hand.
2 commentsDavid AthertonJul 01, 2014
D651A.jpg
Domitian RIC-651A173 viewsAR Denarius, 3.49g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 651A (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XV COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Sondermann Numismatics, June 2014.

During 88-89 Domitian's imperial salutations were coming fast and furious due to wars being fought against both the Chatti and the Dacians. As a result, the honours piled up rather quickly. The different issues during the time period are divided up by imperial acclamations. Some issues are rather small, depending how long it was before word reached the mint of a new salutation. It was previously thought when Domitian became TR P VIII in mid September he was at IMP XVI, however, with this new denarius we now know he was still IMP XV. This realisation bumps the number of issues for 88-89 from 6 to 7, this coin being part of the new first issue now dated TR P VIII IMP XV. The issue had to be quite minuscule (T.V. Buttrey joked perhaps struck for only 30 minutes until news of IMP XVI arrived), only this one Minerva type has surfaced, doubtless the other three standard Minerva types were struck alongside but have yet to be recorded. Forvm member tacrolimus reported an example of the type in 2009, a die pair match with my coin. T.V. Buttrey has assigned this coin 651A in the upcoming RIC II.1 addenda.

The coin isn't only rare but also struck in a very fine Flavian baroque style, in good metal and well centered. Even if it was common it would be outstanding.
8 commentsDavid AthertonJun 26, 2014
D668b.jpg
Domitian RIC-66861 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 668 (C3). BMC 152. RSC 253. BNC 146.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIX COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Ken Dorney, June 2014.

This common denarius is part of Domitian's 88-89 fourth issue, the largest of the period. It records Domitian's 19th Imperial salutation, most likely awarded for a victory over the German Chatti in late 88 or early 89 (probably by March or April of 89). T.V. Buttrey has proposed that this salutation may in fact be for the victory over the rebel legate Saturnius, dressed up as a German victory.

A decent portrait in the standard style of this issue struck on good metal.
1 commentsDavid AthertonJun 23, 2014
D686.jpg
Domitian RIC-686170 viewsAR Denarius, 3.40g
Rome mint, 89 AD
RIC 686 (C2). BMC 159. RSC 258. BNC 154.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Athena Numismatics, June 2014.

Late in 89 Domitian was voted a double triumph over the Chatti and the Dacians. This common denarius struck between mid September and 31 December records Domitian's 21st imperial acclamation, the culmination of the two campaigns. The portrait style is quite unusual featuring a bull necked, heavily jowled Domitian, perhaps features more fitting for Vespasian.

A large flan specimen with a distinctive colourful patina.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 16, 2014
D74b.jpg
Domitian RIC 7475 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 74 (C2). BMC 22. RSC 568c corr. BNC 19.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Tripod with fillets; above, dolphin
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, April 2014.

There was a tremendous amount of coin struck for Domitian in the last few months of 81 after he became emperor in mid September. This coin from group 4 (the largest issue of 81) repeats the common tripod and dolphin pulvinar type previously struck under Titus. RSC incorrectly places ravens on tripod. For Domitian the ravens are found only on RIC 5.

A deeply toned denarius (cabinet toned?) in typical early style.
1 commentsDavid AthertonJun 12, 2014
D36.jpg
Domitian RIC 36120 viewsAR Denarius, 3.23g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 36 (R). BMC 9. RSC 62. BNC 10.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt
Acquired from Hall's Hammered Coins, May 2014.

If one would like evidence of continued uninterrupted mint production during the transition from Titus' to Domitian's reign, one need look no further than the pulvinaria series of denarii struck by both brothers. Titus began issuing these religious types in 80 as IMP XV, which is the last imperial acclamation recorded on his coinage. Oddly enough when Domitian was proclaimed emperor upon Titus' death a year later in September 81 these are the first types struck for him, despite a previous mint hiatus. Apparently the mint did not have many new types in readiness for Domitian. It is also quite possible religious appropriations were still required by the state when Domitian ascended to the purple.

This reverse type from the 3rd group of 81 featuring a draped chair and thunderbolt is likely the pulvinar of Jupiter. Strangely enough TRP is absent from the legends, why this is so I cannot say. It's a puzzling mystery considering the first group of denarii indeed record it.

The youthful portrait style is identical to those struck for Domitian as Caesar under Titus. Nicely toned and well centered.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJun 09, 2014
D427a.jpg
Domitian RIC-42790 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 427 (R). BMC p. 318 note. RSC 186. BNC 89.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XI COS XII CENS•P•P•P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from MNS, May 2014.

This denarius from the first issue of 86 recording Domitian's 11th imperial acclamation from the previous Autumn, due to the First Dacian War, can be somewhat closely dated between 1 January and the Spring (he received his 12th imperial acclamation between 17 March and 13 May). Later in 86 Domitian personally conducted the Second Dacian War due to severe reverses when two legates were lost in succession. This was the year the denarius coinage settled down into a consistent pattern which would be repeated year after year for the rest of the reign - an unadorned portrait on the obverse with the four standard Minerva types dominating the reverse. There would be exceptions to this of course, but they would be few and far between.

Stylistically the coin is pleasing, similar to those from 85. Hints of rainbow toning can be detected in hand as well.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMay 27, 2014
D511.jpg
Domitian RIC-511186 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 511 (C). BMC 107. RSC 213. BNC 107.
Obv: IMP•CAES•DOMIT•AVG GERM•P M•TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)

The first denarius issue of 87 continued in the same style and format as those of 86 (an unadorned, idealised portrait with the four basic Minervas on the reverse), setting a tone the rest of the reign for the denarii. These issues were quite small compared with what was to come over the next nine years. This coin from the first issue has a very idealised portrait in the Flavian baroque style. Icy cool with an expression of "critical disdain" as C. H. V. Sutherland put it in his book "Roman Coins".

Struck on a large flan with a stunning portrait in extraordinary condition - part of Domitian's mutton-chops beard is visible, a very rare thing indeed. One of the finest portraits of him in my collection.
9 commentsDavid AthertonMay 21, 2014
D742.jpg
Domitian RIC-74261 viewsAR Denarius, 3.40g
Rome mint, 92-93 AD
RIC 742 (C3). BMC 207. RSC 278. BNC 186.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)

92 AD saw the largest denarius issues of Domitian's reign. This coin was minted after his 14 September accession date when he became TR P XII. Remarkably, Domitian did not hold the consulship in 93, so this issue cannot be dated as closely as normal and extends to 13 September 93, dated by his tribunician title only.

Stylistically this portrait exhibits the typical characteristics of the issue.
2 commentsDavid AthertonMay 19, 2014
D788.JPG
Domitian RIC-788167 viewsAR Denarius, 2.95g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 788 (C2). BMC 231. RSC 293. BNC 207.
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; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Pegasi, May 2014. Ex Pegasi Auction 17, 6 November 2012, lot 467 (unsold).

An exquisite denarius from the last great issue of Domitian's reign. The coin is in superb late style with a portrait exhibiting the "lofty aspiration" upward gaze. Common to be sure, but this one is uncommonly beautiful.

Struck on a large flan and perfectly centered.
5 commentsDavid AthertonMay 12, 2014
D32sm.jpg
Domitian RIC 32154 viewsAR Denarius, 2.96g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 32 (R). BMC 10. RSC 60. BNC 11.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, semicircular frame decorated with three crescents

A common pulvinaria reverse type, rare with this reverse legend. These pulvinaria types were carried over from Titus, perhaps indicating uninterrupted production at the mint during the transition from Titus' to Domitian's reign.

A respectable coin in average condition and style.
2 commentsDavid AthertonMay 05, 2014
D591a.jpg
Domitian RIC-591115 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 591 (R2). BMC 129. RSC 242. BNC 119.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XV COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, April 2014.

88 was a busy year for Domitian. A war against the Dacians was being fought to avenge the defeat of Cornelius Fuscus (earlier in 86) by Domitian's legate Tettius Julianus, resulting in a victory at the Dacian capital of Tapae late in the year. Also, the Secular Games were held mid to late year and commemorated on the coinage after September. On 1 January 88 Domitian still held his 14th imperial acclamation, but soon he was to rack up three more by the year's end. This coin is dated by his 15th imperial acclamation, presumably from the Dacian campaign, awarded sometime in late summer just before the new title TR P VIII is recorded on the coinage in mid September. The issue this coin is from is quite rare, indicating a very small period of time it could have been struck.

A rare coin in excellent style and condition.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMay 01, 2014
D772d.JPG
Domitian RIC-770162 viewsAR Denarius, 3.27g
Rome mint, 95 AD
RIC 770 (C2). BMC 222. RSC 288. BNC 199.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Dionysos Numismatik, eBay, April 2014.

Domitian took the consulship for the seventeenth time in 95, so this coin can be dated between 1 January and 13 September of that year. Many of the portraits from this issue and the following one show Domitian with slightly raised 'eyes toward heaven' - as seen on this example. Mattingly postulated this as 'lofty aspirations' or even that it is modelled upon the great Equus Domitiani statue erected in 91! Whatever the reason for the portait style, it is indeed a remarkable feature of the late issues and is either the image Domitian wished to project or the product of one or more talented die engravers producing these unique portraits without any direction from above.

A fairly common coin in fine late period style.
David AthertonApr 30, 2014
D741.jpg
Domitian RIC-74152 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome mint, 92-93 AD
RIC 741 (C3). BMC 205. RSC 279. BNC 185.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Zuzim, April 2014.

92 AD saw the largest denarius issues of Domitian's reign. This coin was minted after his 14 September accession date when he became TR P XII. Remarkably, Domitian did not hold the consulship in 93, so this issue cannot be dated as closely as normal and extends to 13 September 93, dated by his tribunician title only.

A denarius struck at a time of massive production. The style is not high quality, but is quite solid considering the volume of the issue.
David AthertonApr 28, 2014
D784sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-784171 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Rome Mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 784 (R2). BMC 237B. RSC 296. BNC 212.
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; Altar, with two figures of soldiers, flanked by aquilae; under each aquila on top of the altar is a seated captive
Ex Solidus, eBay, 13 April 2014.

The months leading up to Domitian's assassination saw the mint at Rome experimenting with many new reverse types (winged Minerva, Maia, temple reverses), breaking the monotony of the four standard Minerva types that had previously dominated the denarius. These new types are exceedingly rare however and were perhaps experimental in nature. This denarius has one of the new reverse types consisting of an altar and is quite impressive. The altar with its aquilae and soldiers is obviously military in nature and may perhaps be a commemorative issue.

A typical example of the mint's late period style in good metal and nicely centred. Same dies as CGB.fr, MONNAIES 55, lot 138.
3 commentsDavid AthertonApr 24, 2014
D737.JPG
Domitian RIC-737155 viewsAR Denarius, 3.59g
Rome mint, 92 AD
RIC 737 (R2). BMC (spec. acquired 1977). RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her l. side (M3)
Ex Dionysos Numismatik, eBay, April 2014.

Domitian struck the same series of four Minerva types for his denarii regularly every year from 83 onwards. Some issues are more rare than others - a few are very rare. This coin is from a very rare issue struck towards the end of summer 92 and can be dated by the TR P XI and IMP XXII, an exceedingly rare combination. This series commemorating his 22nd imperial acclamation was most likely awarded for a victory against the Sarmatians and Suevi near the end of the campaigning season just before he became TR P XII on 14th September. The rarity of this dating combination indicates how tight the window was for this issue.

Excellent example with a good style portrait.
4 commentsDavid AthertonApr 21, 2014
D719.jpg
Domitian RIC-71945 viewsAR Denarius, 3.44g
Rome mint, 90-91 AD
RIC 719 (C2). BMC 176. RSC 265. BNC 166.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P X; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)

The Rome mint was running at peak production when this coin was struck. The early 90s saw the largest issues of denarii during Domitian's reign, most likely for legionary pay.

A respectable coin in good metal and near fine style.
David AthertonApr 17, 2014
D739.JPG
Domitian RIC-73983 viewsAR Denarius, 3.52g
Rome mint, 92-93 AD
RIC 739 (C3). BMC 200. RSC 280. BNC 182.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)

Domitian was not consul in 93 so this type was struck between September 92 and September 93, dated by the tribunician title XII. An elegantly rendered portrait on a common type.
4 commentsDavid AthertonMar 31, 2014
D2.jpg
Domitian RIC 0286 viewsAR Denarius, 3.08g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 2 (R). BMC 3. RSC 551. BNC 3.
Obv: IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII; Dolphin coiled around anchor
Ex Den of Antiquity, eBay, March 2014.

Domitian's first issue of denarii seamlessly picks up where Titus' last issue left off. The pulvinaria types minted for Titus are reused and the portraits of Domitian are identical to those issued for him as Caesar under Titus. The only titles present here are IMP, AVG, TR P, and COS; titles he would have assumed immediately upon Titus' death. The dolphin and anchor reverse is a bit rarer than others from this issue. The obverse is a die match with my RIC 1.

A decent coin struck on a small flan (typical of the early issues) in good early style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMar 24, 2014
D431.jpg
Domitian RIC-431149 viewsAR Denarius, 3.23g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 431 (R). BMC p. 318, *. RSC 182. BNC 93.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XI COS XII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, March 2014.

A fairly rare denarius from the first issue of 86. The portrait continues in the fine style of 84/85 without the finery of an aegis. All four Minerva types are struck in each of the five issues of 86, evidence of the mint being divided into four officinae.

A beautiful portrait struck on a broad flan.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 10, 2014
V1464.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1463A158 viewsAR Denarius, 3.16g
Ephesus mint, 74 AD
RIC 1463A (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS V TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres, std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; below throne, annulet; in l. field, star
Ex Roma E6, 22 February 2014, lot 329.

An unlisted variant of an already rare type from Group 9. RIC 1464 has the obverse legend ending with an annulet and on the reverse a star in the exergue, annulet below throne. My coin has no annulet on the obverse and the star is in left field on the reverse. However, the annulet below the throne firmly places the coin in this group. RIC notes other coins with variant placings of mint marks in the series but has not assigned them unique RIC numbers.

UPDATE: Ian Carradice has assigned this variant its own RIC number 1463A in the upcoming addenda.

The coin needs a bit more cleaning but I shall leave it as is. The major devices and mint marks are quite visible and the dirt is not too distracting, IMHO.
6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 06, 2014
D183.jpg
Domitian RIC-183328 viewsAR Denarius, 2.90g
Rome mint, 84 AD
RIC 183 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANIC; Bust of Domitian, laureate, draped, bearded, l.
Rev: P M TR POT III IMP V COS X P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, April 2014.

84 AD probably saw the peak of artistic quality with Domitian's precious metal coinage. Two years previous, the fineness of the denarius was increased and the style radically changed from the earlier issues. Upon Domitian's accession the veristic style of Vespasian and Titus still dominated, after the reform it became more idealised and much finer. By 84 the style had evolved to such a high degree that the mint was able to produce these finely engraved draped busts, albeit in small quantities. This extremely rare coin struck in 84 is an exquisite example of the new idealised style. This is the second known specimen of the type. Much experimentation was going on at the mint at this time with reverse types, busts, and style. I assume the amount of time an engraver spent on rendering these highly polished pieces was considerable, which could perhaps explain why they were not struck more commonly. RIC theorises the drapery represents a military cloak commemorating Domitian's recent German victory. Afterwards, the style remained idealised and fine but the finer portraits would sometimes appear with an aegis, the draped busts consigned to an experimental cul-de-sac. The idealised style would continue to evolve throughout the reign reaching baroque proportions by 88. It's a shame that this fine portrait bust was struck sparingly.

Ian Carradice speculated in his 1983 monograph Coinage and Finances in the Reign of Domitian that the same engraver who did this piece may have worked on an earlier left facing portrait from 81 (see my Domitian RIC 75). Although left facing portraits are extremely rare in Domitian's reign and it is not out of the realm of possibility that the same engraver was working at the mint three years later and produced another left facing bust, to my eyes the styles seem too different to warrant that conclusion.

The bust of Domitian here is superbly rendered, one of the finest portraits of Domitian I've ever seen on a denarius. Same obverse die as the unique specimen cited in RIC.

13 commentsDavid AthertonMar 03, 2014
D54sm.jpg
Domitian RIC 54146 viewsAR Denarius, 3.02g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 54 (C2). BMC 20. RSC 568. BNC 26.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Dolphin coiled around anchor
Acquired from Lucernae, eBay, February 2014.

This carry-over pulvinaria type from Titus' reign represents the pulvinar of Neptune. A common coin with an outstanding early style portrait. The portrait is so well executed that I can forgive the minor scrape on the reverse.

Well toned and much nicer in hand.
7 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 26, 2014
D726.jpg
Domitian RIC-72651 viewsAR Denarius, 3.72g
Rome mint, 91 AD
RIC 726 (C). BMC 184. RSC 268. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Praefectus Coins, February 2014.

Struck between 14 September and 31 December 91, this is a fairly common denarius. I had some attribution difficulty due to the partially off flan COS date, which differenates this issue from the more common following issue. Once in hand with a good loupe I was able to see it was indeed COS XV.

What stands out to me about this coin is the very high style portrait (very different than my RIC 724 from the same issue). Exceptionally well engraved in good metal with a nice large flan.
1 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 24, 2014
D763a.jpg
Domitian RIC-763127 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 93-94 AD
RIC 763 (C3). BMC 218. RSC 283. BNC 193.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Rutten and Wieland, February 2014.

When dealing with a large issue it is sometimes hard to find a good die in fine style. This denarius was struck between 14 September 93 and 13 September 94, one of the largest issues of the reign. It consists of only denarii and all are very common. The portrait style is remarkably fine, not only for the issue but for the period as a whole. The style seen here is very reminiscent of denarii struck earlier in the reign, but with a plumper face.

The Second Pannonian War was conducted by Domitian between May 92 and January 93, which may account for the large series of denarii minted during this time period, war being costly and all. Domitian celebrated only an ovatio upon his return and not a full triumph, perhaps due to unsatisfactory results.

The coin is nicely struck and in good metal, quite a little beauty in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 19, 2014
D4.JPG
Domitian RIC 04101 viewsAR Denarius, 3.18g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 4 (C). BMC 1. RSC 554. BNC 1.
Obv: IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII; Seat, draped; above, thunderbolt

The early issues of Domitian show a progression of the titles he assumed soon after his accession. This denarius is part of the first issue, evident by Domitian's sparse titles of IMP, AVG and TRP only, he is not yet Pontifex Maximus (PONT or PM) or Pater Patriae (P P). The reverse is a pulvinaria type carried over from Titus. The style is identical to the Domitian as Caesar denarii struck under Titus as well. NB: Thunderbolt is not winged.

A good example of the early portrait style.
4 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 17, 2014
D70.jpg
Domitian RIC 7061 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 70 (C). BMC 15. RSC 575. BNC 13.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt
Ex Den of Antiquity, eBay, February 2014.

A fairly common coin from the large fourth issue of 81. The early coinage of Domitian continues in the same style of those struck under Titus using many of his pulvinaria reverse types. The thunderbolt over table is thought to be attributed to the pulvinar of Jupiter.

A decent coin both in style and eye appeal.
David AthertonFeb 12, 2014
D843.jpg
Domitian RIC-843122 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.65g
Rome mint (for Asia), 82 AD
RIC 843 (C). BMC 252. RSC 667. RPC 865 (9 spec.). BNC 222.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG P M COS VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: Aquila between two standards, one surmounted by a banner, the other by a hand
Acquired from Coldwater Coins, February 2014.

Domitian minted a small series of cistophori at Rome early in his reign for distribution in Asia Minor. This military type was newly introduced previously by Titus on his cistophori and continued to be identically struck under Domitian. It is not clear why a military type was struck for such a prosperous and peaceful region. Previously these cistophori were attributed to Ephesus, but it is fairly clear style wise they belong to Rome.

Honest wear with clear legends and devices. A real beauty in hand.
4 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 10, 2014
D724.jpg
Domitian RIC-72462 viewsAR Denarius, 3.49g
Rome mint, 91 AD
RIC 724 (C). BMC p. 336 note. RSC 269. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Vaughn, January 2014.

A fairly common coin struck between 14 September and 31 December 91. The portrait on this denarius has a lot of character. The hand of an individual engraver can be detected, evident by the odd nostril line on the nose. This tell-tale trait can be seen on several portraits during this time period. Although somewhat crude, I find the style very appealing.
1 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 03, 2014
D730a.jpg
Domitian RIC-730a78 viewsAR Denarius, 3.40g
Rome mint, 92 AD
RIC 730a (C3). BMC 189. RSC 274. BNC 175.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Wayne C. Phillips, January 2014.

The first issue of 92, of which this coin is from, was large indeed, certainly one of the largest of the reign. Ian Carradice conducted a die study of this issue and determined the mint was divided into officina based on the separate Minerva reverse types, much like it had been in 81-82, after an apparent hiatus.

Historical note: Domitian was campaigning against the Suebi and Sarmatians during 92, perhaps accounting for such a large issue.

A very common coin in uncommonly good style.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJan 29, 2014
D786.jpg
Domitian RIC-786201 viewsAR Denarius, 3.06g
Rome Mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 786 (R2). BMC 237A. RSC 295. BNC -.
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 AthertonJan 22, 2014
D845.jpg
Domitian RIC-845204 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.59g
Rome mint (for Asia), 82 AD
RIC 845 (R). BMC 255. RSC 2 (under Domitian and Domitia). RPC 866 (6 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG P M COS VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: DOMITIA AVGVSTA; bust of Domitia, draped, r., hair massed in front and in long plait behind
Ex Berk, eBay, 30 December 2013. EX Berk 145, 14 September 2005, lot 459.

Domitian's cistophori were minted in Rome for distribution in Asia Minor on two separate occasions: at the beginning of the reign in 82 and near the end in 95. The type with the empress Domitia on the reverse can be dated to the first group based on Domitian's COS date. The style and die axis are similar to the denarii minted at Rome during the same period, firmly placing these cistophori to that mint.

A most fitting type to be minted at the beginning of the reign. Two similar portraits in a wonderfully "Flavian" style.


13 commentsDavid AthertonJan 06, 2014
D59.jpg
Domitian RIC 59107 viewsAR Denarius, 3.16g
Rome Mint, 81 AD
RIC 59 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
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; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Ancient Treasures, eBay, December 2013.

The Minerva reverse type seen here was also issued for Domitian as Caesar under Titus. It is coupled with the rare obverse DIVI VESP F legend variant. Not listed in Cohen, BMCRE, or Ian Carradice's Coinage and Finances in the Reign of Domitian (1983).

A very Titus-like portrait, typical of the early issues.
3 commentsDavid AthertonDec 30, 2013
D764.JPG
Domitian RIC-764104 viewsAR Denarius, 3.51g
Rome mint, 93-94 AD
RIC 764 (C3). BMC 220. RSC 282. BNC 195.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Solidus, eBay, 3 December 2013.

The early 90s was a period when large numbers of denarii were struck, probably the largest issues of the reign. Although this is a very common coin it is in uncommonly fine style and condition. There were many hurriedly prepared dies struck during this time, fortunately this is one of the better ones.

A wonderful coin in hand.
7 commentsDavid AthertonDec 25, 2013
V1495.JPG
09d Domitian as Caesar- RIC 1495125 viewsAR Denarius, 3.26g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1495 (R). BMC 491. RSC -. RPC 1467 (4 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r. 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: FIDES PVBL; Hands clasped over caduceus, two poppies and two corn ears
Ex Solidus, eBay, 29 November 2013.

In 76 AD a mysterious series of denarii appeared in Asia Minor for Vespasian and his sons two years after Ephesus stopped minting denarii. The reverse types were copied from those contemporaneously produced at Rome and featured many mules and blundered legends. Often an 'o' mint mark is visible below the busts, giving rise to the theory that these may be the product of Ephesus. The style is also similar to the last series known from that mint.

Here is a rare reverse type for Domitian as Caesar. At Rome this type is only known for Vespasian and Titus. BMC 491 is listed as no mint mark below bust. A fine style portrait struck on a large flan. Same obverse die as my V1492.
6 commentsDavid AthertonDec 23, 2013
D509.jpg
Domitian RIC-50992 viewsAR Denarius, 3.04g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 509 (C). BMC 106. RSC 215a. BNC 105.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG•GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•XIIII COS XIII CENS•P•P•P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, December, 2013.

Domitian's denarius issues of 87 continued the same style and format of those from 86. From this time forward the four standard Minerva reverse types would dominate the denarii with a few minor interruptions. The mint during this period seems to have been divided up into separate officina based on reverse types according to Ian Carradice's careful die study of the issues (Coinage and Finances in the Reign of Domitian - 1983, p. 30). The officina system would continue until the end of the reign.

This denarius from the first issue of 87 is a good example of the quality and style of the mint at this time. Struck on a tight flan and darkly toned.
6 commentsDavid AthertonDec 18, 2013
D437a.jpg
Domitian RIC-43781 viewsAR Denarius, 2.93g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 437 (R). BMC p. 319 note. RSC 204. BNC 96.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•XII COS XII CENS•P•P•P•; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from A. G .& S. Gillis, December 2013.

An excellently styled denarius from the second issue of 86. All the denarii from this issue are quite rare.

Struck on a large flan with some minor corrosion. Much better in hand.
4 commentsDavid AthertonDec 16, 2013
D5b.jpg
Domitian RIC 0583 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 5 (C). BMC 4. RSC 552. BNC 4.
Obv: IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII; Tripod with fillets; above, ravens, l. and r., and dolphin over wreath
Ex Lanz, eBay, 17 November 2013.

Domitian's 81 AD Group 1 denarii are fairly rare, issued perhaps within the first days of him obtaining the purple. The early dating of the type can be confirmed by the spartan-like reverse titles that show Domitian simply as Tribunica Potestat for the first time and Consul for the seventh. Domitian was notorious for his adherence to the correct form of his titles, as clearly evident here. He would not advertise any titles that had yet to be bestowed. The absence of PM or P P is glaringly apparent.

The reverse is a carry-over 'pulvinaria' type from Titus' reign and is the only appearance of the tripod with ravens in Domitian's 'pulvinaria' series. The group 1 denarii show an uncanny connection with reverse types previously minted for Titus, perhaps indicating little interruption in mint production between the reigns. The series may be connected to the opening games of the Flavian Amphitheatre.

A decent coin in fine metal with an early style reminiscent of Domitian as Caesar under Titus.
4 commentsDavid AthertonNov 25, 2013
D667.jpg
Domitian RIC-66771 viewsAR Denarius, 3.46g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 667 (C3). BMC 151. RSC 252. BNC 145.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIX COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Zuzim, November 2013.

Imperial acclamations were coming fast and furious during the 88-89 time period, which is the primary means of differentiating the many various issues. The fourth issue of 88-89 recording Domitian's 19th imperial acclamation is quite large, almost all of the coins in the issue being C3. Despite the heavy demands of a large issue the artistic quality and integrity remains intact. The high standards Domitian demanded of his mint is evident in this fourth issue coin.

An excellent portrait on a well centered tight flan.
3 commentsDavid AthertonNov 20, 2013
D584.jpg
Domitian RIC-584110 viewsAR Denarius, 3.50g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 584 (C3). BMC 122. RSC 233. BNC 117.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Apollo Numismatics, November 2013.

An exquisite example from the first issue of 88 AD. This first issue was quite extensive featuring many common types, including the present coin, but it also included many rare ones (see my RIC 574) and stylistically is quite impressive. In 88 Domitian held the Secular Games, which may explain the care given to the coinage that year.

A sharp denarius with little wear. Wonderful in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonNov 18, 2013
D574.JPG
Domitian RIC-574173 viewsAR Denarius, 3.12g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 574 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r. with aegis
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Lanz, eBay, 20 October 2013.

Early in 88 AD a special series of denarii were issued by Domitian. Style wise they are very fine and feature some rare obverse variants. I wish to present a denarius from the series which shows Domitian with aegis, the first time seen on his precious metal coinage since 84-85. Several other types in the series fully spell out "GERMAN" in the obverse instead of using the more frequent abbreviated "GERM". Why does this series contain the only example of Domitian with aegis after 85? Is there a special purpose for it?

If one is to look for anything of importance that occurred in 88, one would be hard pressed to find anything more important than the Secular Games - which indeed has known reverse types that commemorate it. Does the fine style of the series in question, combined with the only known aegis portrait issued after 85, and other coins fully spelling "GERMAN" point to a Secular Games commemorative issue? Perhaps this is the first series which commemorates the event before the specific reverse types (herald and cippus) were drawn up.

Needless to say the coin is very rare. Ian Carradice did not record the type in his 1983 monograph 'Coinage and Finances in the Reign of Domitian'. Shares the same aureus reverse die as the RIC 571 plate coin. Another example of the type from different dies was recently sold in the Harry Sneh Gemini X auction and in June 2015 Forvm member timka posted an example. These are the only three I've ever seen in trade.

Struck on a large flan (20mm) in excellent metal with dark toning.
4 commentsDavid AthertonNov 04, 2013
D692a.jpg
Domitian RIC-69269 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 90 AD
RIC 692 (C2). BMC 168. RSC 259. BNC 160.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Lucernae, eBay, October 2013.

Domitian's denarii arguably reached a high watermark stylistically between 84-88 AD. After which there are only intermittent flashes of fine styled portraiture in the massive issues produced in the last third of the reign. Here is one such coin engraved in a fine style, fully centered with good fabric.

No major military activity is recorded for the year this coin was struck, so no new imperial acclamations were awarded to Domitian.
3 commentsDavid AthertonOct 25, 2013
D392c.jpg
Domitian RIC-392152 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 392 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT•AVG•GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XI COS XI CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)

Here is a denarius from the rare sixth issue of 85, the first which marks Domitian's assumption of the perpetual censorship (CENS P). Unlisted in BMCRE and RSC and cited in only two private collections by RIC. Also, Alberto has one in his gallery. Perhaps the fourth specimen known (?).

Beautifully toned with a stylish portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonOct 21, 2013
V1109sm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1109107 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Lyon mint, 70 AD
RIC 1109 (R). BMC 375 note. RSC 93. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG TR P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER TR POT; Neptune stg. l., foot on prow, with dolphin

A fairly rare Neptune type which is part of an early issue from Lyon (Lugdunum) struck in 70. Rome also minted the same type but the two can be distinguished by style and obverse legend. Style wise Lyon is known for its large headed portraits and neat, blocky legends. TR P (either I or II) is also recorded in the obverse legend, unlike at Rome. The reverse type also has a more ornate prow than Rome. Many Lyon denarius types are copied from those minted in Rome and are sometimes misattributed by less diligent cataloguers.
5 commentsDavid AthertonOct 15, 2013
D328.jpg
Domitian RIC-328161 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 328 (R2). BMC (spec. acquired 1987). RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG•GERM P M TR P IIII; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: IMP•VIIII COS•XI CENS POTES•P•P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Purportedly found in the Alsace Region of France.

This coin is part of the 3rd issue of 85 (arguably the rarest issue of the year) and the last struck before Domitian reformed the precious metal coinage once again by slightly lowering the fineness. Very few examples from this issue are known, the Germania type surprisingly being the most common. An obverse and reverse die match with the RIC plate coin in the BM as well. This specimen is from the Alsace Region, an area of much military activity early in Domitian's reign.

A beautiful denarius struck in the fine high style of 85 on a large (21mm) flan.
6 commentsDavid AthertonOct 08, 2013
V1105sm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1105120 viewsAR Denarius, 3.17g
Lyon mint, 70 AD
RIC 1105 (R2). BMC p. 76 note. RSC 82. BNC 288.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG TR P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER FORT RED; Fortuna stg. l., r. hand on prow, with cornucopiae
Ex G&N, eBay, 22 September 2013.

At first glance this denarius would seem to be unremarkable. The Fortuna reverse is a well known common reverse type minted in Rome in 70; however, this example is from Lyon (Lugdunum) and is considerably rarer. It can be distinguished from the Rome mint examples based on style and the obverse legend. Style wise Lyon is known for its large headed portraits and neat, blocky legends. TR P (either I or II) is also recorded in the obverse legend, unlike at Rome. Many Lyon denarius types are copied from those minted in Rome and are sometimes misattributed by less diligent cataloguers.

A good coin with honest wear and a fine styled portrait.
8 commentsDavid AthertonOct 02, 2013
D659_G.jpg
Domitian RIC-659112 viewsAR Denarius, 3.48g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 659 (R). BMC 149. RSC 245. BNC 140.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XVII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
aEF/VF
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 729. Purchased from Helios, ebay, October 2010. Ex A. Lynn Collection.

A fairly rare imperial acclamation from the second issue of denarii dated 88-89. All the coins from this issue are quite scarce.

A wonderful, regal looking portrait. Lovely in hand.

8 commentsDavid AthertonSep 23, 2013
D852.jpg
Domitian RIC-85290 viewsAR Cistophorus, 10.23g
Rome mint (for Asia), 95 AD
RIC 852 (C). BMC 254. RSC 22a. RPC 874 (5 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: AVG GERM across field; Bundle of six corn ears
Acquired from Civitas Galleries, September 2013.

In 82 and 95 Domitian struck cistophori at Rome for circulation in Asia Minor. This coin is part of the issue of 95 and repeats a classic agrarian reverse Augustus used on his cistophori. Apparently the cistophorus went down better than the denarius with the locals and so had to be struck periodically when required.

A hefty coin in fine late period Roman style. Same dies as the RIC plate coin.

5 commentsDavid AthertonSep 16, 2013
D456.jpg
Domitian RIC-45672 viewsAR Denarius, 3.11g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 456 (R). BMC 98. RSC 210b. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG•GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XII CENS•P•P•P•; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)

All of Domitian's denarii minted in 86 are rare, so well worth seeking out. This example is from the fifth issue, struck after mid-September.

86 saw a rapid increase in Domitian's imperial salutations, mainly due to troubles on the Danube.

A decent denarius in the formal, mannered style of 85-87.
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 09, 2013
D504.jpg
Domitian RIC-50464 viewsAR Denarius, 3.33g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 504 (C). BMC 101. RSC 217. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT. AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv. r., with spear and shield (M1)
Acquired from Vaughn, August 2013.

87 AD saw a decline in the output of denarii which continued from the previous year's meager emissions. All four standard Minerva reverse types were minted with no irregularities. This example is from the first issue of 87.

A decent coin with hints of the flamboyant portraits of the following year.
2 commentsDavid AthertonSep 02, 2013
D789_zpsc5250870.jpg
Domitian RIC-78998 viewsAR Denarius, 3.47g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 789 (C2). BMC 234. RSC 291. BNC 208.
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; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear, shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from Roma Numismatics, August 2013.

Between September 95 and September 96 Domitian struck his last great issue of denarii. The series varies wildly in quality - some denarii it seems were struck in a bit of a hurry (ragged flans and bad style), while others were more carefully crafted with better quality control. Domitian's hand, it seems, may not have been as firmly on the mint's tiller as in times past.

This denarius was struck in that same great issue and exhibits some of its better qualities. For a start, the centering is spot on and the flan is almost perfect. Style wise we see the Flavian baroque (ostentatious and overdone) which is very much in evidence on certain denarii from 88 onwards. Here the elaborate hairstyle, plump face, and gaudy laurel wreath (crowding into the legend) shows off this baroque style in fine fashion. A skilled engraver's handiwork in the then fashionable court style. Also of note, many of the portraits from this time (such as the current example) show a Domitian with slightly raised 'eyes toward heaven' - which Mattingly postulated as 'lofty aspirations'.

4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 21, 2013
D790sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-79080 viewsAR Denarius, 3.56g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 790 (C2). BMC 235. RSC 290. BNC 209.
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; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from C. J. Martin, August 2013.

A very crisp denarius which was struck during the last year of Domitian's reign between 14 September 95 to 13 September 96. This was a large issue with many common examples, including all four standard Minerva types, and one which saw the introduction of many new types (the flying Minverva for example). These later coins tend to lack the high quality and craftsmanship of earlier issues.

A very sharp coin in hand.
1 commentsDavid AthertonAug 19, 2013
D343.jpg
Domitian RIC-343101 viewsAR Denarius, 3.34g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 343 (R2). BMC p. 317, *. RSC 187. BNC -.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•VIIII COS XI CENS POT•P•P•; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Ex Berk 186, 21 August 2013, lot 229.

This rare denarius is part of the fifth issue of 85, minted soon after Domitian reformed the coinage a second time by slightly reducing the silver fineness to the Neronian standard.

A very handsome coin in hand struck on a large flan with a stylish portrait.
6 commentsDavid AthertonAug 05, 2013
V541.jpg
00a Domitian as Caesar RIC 541335 viewsAR Denarius, 3.46g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 541 (R2). BMC 129 var. RSC 664. BNC 105 var.
Obv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS II; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: No legend; Domitian on horse l.; r. hand raised, sceptre in l.
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 701. = Helios, ebay, 29 November 2010 (A. Lynn Collection).

This is an extremely rare denarius of Domitian as Caesar, the second earliest minted at Rome. Here the legend is clockwise, the much more common Domitian on horseback type has the legend anticlockwise. The reverse may allude to Domitian's participation in Vespasian and Titus' joint triumph where he rode a 'magnificent' steed. The obverse is a die match with the RIC plate coin from Oxford.

The early portrait on this one is quite outstanding.
18 commentsDavid AthertonJul 29, 2013
D565.jpg
Domitian RIC-565156 viewsAR Denarius, 3.25g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 565 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG GERMANICVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS XIIII across field; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

This denarius features an extremely rare obverse legend (notice the full spelling of DOMITIANVS and GERMANICVS) with the rare COS XIIII legend across reverse field. It is part of a short lived series minted near the beginning of 88. The only other known specimen is in the Fitzwilliam collection, which is an obverse die match with my coin (the reverse is a die match with the RIC 564 plate coin).

Struck in high relief on a broad flan (22mm!) with an exquisite portrait, Domitian would have been very pleased. A phenomenal coin in hand regardless of rarity.
8 commentsDavid AthertonJul 22, 2013
D460.jpg
Domitian RIC-460100 viewsAR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 86 AD
RIC 460 (R). BMC (spec. acquired 1989). RSC 210c. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XII CENS•P•P•P•; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from A. G .& S. Gillis, April 2013.

All the denarii from this fifth issue of 86 minted after September are quite rare. Domitian was rapidly accumulating imperial salutations during the year, which are likely in conjunction with his Dacian Wars of 85-86. This coin records his fourteenth imperial salutation.

A decent coin with honest wear and a very stylish portrait.

Additional attribution thanks to Curtis Clay.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJul 17, 2013
D3.jpg
Domitian RIC 0382 viewsAR Denarius, 3.13g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 3 (R). BMC 2. RSC 554a. BNC 2.
Obv: IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII; Seat, draped; above, triangular frame decorated with corn ears
Acquired from Museum Surplus, July 2013.

Here we have a rather worn denarius of Domitian which may at first glance appear unremarkable, however, to me it is anything but that. Minted within the first few days of Domitian's reign, the reverse type is a carry-over from Titus' 'pulvinar' series. The mint had yet to develop unique or new reverse types for Domitian. Here we see a triangular frame above a chair, which is its only appearance in Domitian's 'pulvinar' series making this a rather rare coin. The early dating of the type can be confirmed by the spartan-like reverse titles that show Domitian simply as Tribunica Potestat for the first time and Consul for the seventh. Domitian was notorious for his adherence to the correct form of his titles, as clearly evident here. He would not advertise any titles that had yet to be bestowed. The absence of PM or P P is glaringly apparent.

A nice little coin that provides a neat glimpse into the workings of a mint and the mind of a new emperor.
3 commentsDavid AthertonJul 08, 2013
V1453best.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1453110 viewsAR Denarius, 3.01g
Ephesus mint, 73 AD (Late)
RIC 1453 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. RPC 850 (1 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS IIII TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue, star

A very rare Ephesus Group 7 denarius from 73 AD. This series has the rare COS IIII date minted very late in the year. Including my example, there are seven specimens of the Ceres seated type I know of (Coincidentally, Lucas posted one a week ago). As a historical reference, the siege of Masada took place earlier in the year and Vespasian and Titus assumed a joint censorship.

The coin needs a bit more cleaning, but I'm leaving it as is because it looks wonderful, IMHO.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 01, 2013
D580.JPG
Domitian RIC-58069 viewsAR Denarius, 3.31g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 580 (C3). BMC 119. RSC 234. BNC 116.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)

This very common denarius of 88 AD is part of the large first issue of denarii minted before September, the largest issue of the reign up to that point. Even with the mint striking such a large issue this coin shows high standards were still being maintained.

Well centered with an artistic, icy cool portrait.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJun 24, 2013
D597A_2.jpg
Domitian RIC-597A173 viewsAR Denarius, 2.96g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 597A (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC; Herald adv. l., with wand and shield
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh collection, lot 728.

A unique denarius that is a variant of RIC 597 and 598, both of which feature the same reverse type with obverse head left but differ in regards to the legend - 597 has DOMIT instead of DOMITIAN clockwise, and 598 has the same legend but anti-clockwise. Harry Sneh notified Ian Carradice of this new variant and the coin has been assigned 597A in the upcoming RIC II addenda.

The reverse type is part of the third series of denarii struck in 88 which commemorates Domitian's Secular Games and features the herald announcing them.

Some corrosion, but nicely centered with a neat portrait.

*Update* The upcoming RIC II.1 Addenda cites another specimen: G&N 9, 3 November 2013, lot 465.

7 commentsDavid AthertonJun 17, 2013
D720a.JPG
Domitian RIC-72083 viewsAR Denarius, 3.21g
Rome mint, 90-91 AD
RIC 720 (C2). BMC 179. RSC 266. BNC 168.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P X; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r., on capital of rostral column, with spear and sheild; to r., owl (M2)
Acquired from Lucernae, eBay, June 2013.

Minted between January and mid-September 90, a stretch of time which saw a massive quantity of denarii produced. The reverse features the second of the four standard Minerva types, here she is seen with one of her attributes, an owl representing wisdom.

Not in the best style, but a dark patina covers most of the surfaces except for the high points, leaving a pleasing to the eye contrast.
David AthertonJun 12, 2013
D75sm.jpg
Domitian RIC 75101 viewsAR Denarius, 3.32g
Rome Mint, 81 AD
RIC 75 (R2). BMC 22 note. RSC 568d corr. BNC 20.
Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Tripod with fillets; above, dolphin
Acquired privately from Berk, 6 June 2013. Ex Berk 177, 15 November 2011, lot 275 (unsold). Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection

This 'pulvinar' denarius is an early issue minted within the first few months of Domitian's reign. Rare with this obverse legend, even rarer with left facing portrait - a portrait variant you don't see often on Domitian's denarii. RSC erroneously lists this type with ravens above tripod.

Ian Carradice speculates that this die, because it is so close in style to the left facing portraits of Titus, indeed may have originally been a Titus obverse recut for Domitian. All the left facing portraits from the issue are from this same die. Interestingly, the coin is from the Fourth issue of 81 and presumably was not struck straight away within the first days of the new reign but more likely later in the year.


The oblong flan would surely have not met up to Domitian's standards! Regardless, a decent coin in hand.
6 commentsDavid AthertonJun 10, 2013
D101.jpg
Domitian RIC-10197 viewsAR Denarius, 3.43g
Rome Mint, 82 AD
RIC 101 (R). BMC 26. RSC 597. BNC 30.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR POT COS VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 712. Ex CNG E212, 17 June 2009, lot 294.

This denarius is part of the last issue before Domitian reformed the coinage in 82 AD. Prior to the reform Domitian's coinage maintained the same reverse types (evidenced by this carry over 'pulvinar' reverse of Titus), fabric, fineness, and style as those minted under Titus. After the reform all of that changed, along with the dismissal and banishment of the financial secretary Julius Aug. lib. who presumably did not approve of the new changes.

A sharp looking denarius in hand. Nicely toned too.
10 commentsDavid AthertonMay 22, 2013
D521.jpg
Domitian RIC-52169 viewsAR Denarius, 3.44g
Rome mint, 87 AD
RIC 521 (C). BMC 114. RSC 222. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG - GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 724. Ex Berk 170, 29 July 2010, lot 175.

A denarius listed as common, but really isn't as common as one would think. According to C. Clay only one listed in the Reka Devina hoard and none in the Paris collection. TR P VII dates this to the second issue of 87.

In a pleasing style and large flan (22 mm).
4 commentsDavid AthertonMay 20, 2013
D721.jpg
Domitian RIC-72158 viewsAR Denarius, 3.39g
Rome mint, 90-91 AD
RIC 721 (C2). BMC 181. RSC 264. BNC 169.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P X; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her l. side (M3)
Acquired from MUSA, May 2013.

Domitian did not assume the consulship in 91, so this coin is dated by the tribunician title from mid-September 90 to mid-September 91. The basic four Minerva reverse types dominate this series.

A decent coin in fine style. Domitian's exacting high standards are in evidence here.
3 commentsDavid AthertonMay 06, 2013
V1124b.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1124111 viewsAR Denarius, 3.06g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1124 (R). BMC 393. RSC 544. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG TR P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: TITVS ET DOMITIAN CAESARES PRIN IVEN; Titus and Domitian std. l., on curule chairs, with branches
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

This dynastic reverse type was minted both in Rome and Lyon*. Both are rare, with perhaps the the Lyon type being the rarest of the two.

Much better in hand than the photo suggests. It should tone up nicely with time.

* The type has also been attributed to uncertain western mints (See my RIC 1363 var.).
3 commentsDavid AthertonApr 22, 2013
D335.jpg
Domitian RIC-335134 viewsAR Denarius, 3.41g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 335 (R2). BMC p. 315 note. RSC 178 corr. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP•VIIII COS XI CENS•POT•P•P•; Minerva stg. l., with thunderbolt and spear; shield at her side (M3)
Ex Harry N Sneh Collection. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

A denarius which is part of the fourth issue of 85 minted after Domitian reduced the silver fineness back to the Neronian standard. Despite the reduction in silver content, the coin has been minted on a large flan and the portrait is in a similar fine style as the previous issues with the higher silver standard.

This coin is a RIC plate coin, mislabeled as 338, pl. 124.

6 commentsDavid AthertonApr 20, 2013
D331sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-331166 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 331 (R2). BMC 82. RSC 181. BNC 84.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POTES P P; Germania seated r. on shield; below, broken spear
Ex Roma Auction V, 23 March 2013, lot 728.

In either 82 or 83 AD Domitian conducted a census of Gaul as a smoke screen in order to make preparations to invade the Germanic Chatti lands across the Rhine. Not much is known of what the actual war consisted of - perhaps some road building, punitive raids against Chatti strongholds, and some minor skirmishes. No large battles, a la Mons Graupius, have come down to us, prompting Tacitus' assertion, 'that in recent times, the Germans were more triumphed over than conquered'. Even the date of the conflict is in dispute - although Domitian did rack up four salutations between June 83 and September 84, several of which must be attributed to the Chattan Campaign.

Domitian celebrated a triumph over the Chatti in 83, after which he claimed the title 'Germanicus'. This rare denarius from 85 is a record of the war and triumph over the defeated German tribe. The coin is part of the last series of denarii minted with the recently increased silver fineness before the lesser Neronian standard was restored. During this period particular attention was paid by the die engravers to Domitian's portrait, evidenced here by the aegis and fine style. The Germania Capta reverse has become an iconic Flavian type, along with Vespasian and Titus' Judaea Capta types, despite the 'hollow' triumph it records.

A most wonderful coin in hand!
10 commentsDavid AthertonApr 09, 2013
D670.jpg
Domitian RIC-67070 viewsAR Denarius, 3.20g
Rome mint, 88-89 AD
RIC 670 (C3). BMC 154. RSC 250. BNC 149.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIX COS XIIII CENS P•P P; Minerva stg. l., with spear (M4)
Acquired from Zuzim, March 2013.

A denarius which records Domitian's 19th Imperial salutation, most likely awarded for a victory over the German Chatti in late 88 or early 89 (probably by March or April of 89). Typical of Domitian's denarii of this time period, the portrait is in fine style and the overall workmanship is fairly high quality.
1 commentsDavid AthertonMar 11, 2013
D601.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Domitian RIC 601213 viewsAR denarius
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 601 (C), BMCRE 135, RSC 73
Obv - IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev - COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC inscribed on column; to r., incense burner, further r., Herald stg. l., with wand and shield
10 commentsDavid AthertonMar 06, 2013
V1340.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1340125 viewsAR Denarius, 3.15g
Uncertain Spanish mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1340 (R). BMC 362. RSC 630. BNC 30.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: VICTORIA IMP VESPASIANI; Victory stg. l. on globe, with wreath and palm
Ex Private Collection; acquired from Incitatus Coins, December 2012.

This early undated denarius of Vespasian is fairly rare and is minted in an eye appealing style. The mint itself is uncertain, but the reverse type of Victory and Globe under Vitellius at Tarraco and the prominence of left facing busts of Galba and Vitellius from there as well, suggests a Spanish location despite the different style between the series. Future die links will most likely clear the matter up. My hunch is that it is indeed Tarraco (as assigned in the BMCRE) and the style differences can be explained by different engravers working at the mint and/or the elapsed time between the issues. The Paris specimen (BNC 30) is attributed to Rome.

The coin is quite a beauty. The style is almost baroquely garish in its representation of Vespasian, luscious locks and all.

6 commentsDavid AthertonMar 04, 2013
D841.JPG
Domitian RIC-841152 viewsAR Cistophorus, 9.81g
Rome mint (for Asia), 82 AD
RIC 841 (C). BMC 251. RSC 23. RPC 864 (8 spec.). BNC 221.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG P M COS VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CAPIT across field, RESTIT in exergue; Temple of Capitoline Jupiter with 4 columns enclosing figures of Juno, seated Jupiter and Minverva
Acquired from Tom Cederlind, February 2013.

In 80 AD while Titus was away in Campania surveying the damage Vesuvius had caused in the region the previous Fall, a devastating fire broke out in Rome, damaging much of the city center. One of the most important buildings affected by the fire was the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, rebuilt recently by Vespasian. It being the most sacred and important building in Rome, Titus began rebuilding it immediately. Construction was still ongoing when Titus died of natural causes in September of 81. Domitian completed the structure the following year and it was said no expense was spared. The building Domitian dedicated was a lavish structure, magnificent in appearance featuring Pentelic marble, gold plated doors, and a roof of gilded bronze.

This cistophorus minted in Rome for export to Asia Minor commemorates the new Temple of Jupiter Domitian bestowed on Rome. Curiously, although the building featured six columns, only four are seen here. Statues of the deities Juno, Jupiter (seated) and Minverva can be seen between the columns.

A most wonderful coin in hand.
8 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 25, 2013
D20.jpg
Domitian RIC 20155 viewsAR Denarius, 3.02g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 20 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Altar, garlanded and lighted
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 707. Acquired from Freeman & Sear in 2009, from the A. Lynn Collection. Ex. Hauck & Aufhauser 17, 18 March 2003, lot 258. Ex G. Hirsch 3, April 1954, lot 323.

This type is quite rare with the legend omitting TR P. Only two specimens are cited by RIC, this coin from the Hauck & Aufhauser 17 auction and another in a private collection.
The reverse type of an Altar with Flame is part of the "pulvinaria" series issued by Titus and Domitian as part of the commemorative issue for the opening games of the Colosseum. It is a carry-over reverse from Domitian as Caesar.

Toned and in excellent condition. An exquisite example of early Domitianic coinage.
11 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 18, 2013
D791.jpg
Domitian RIC-791114 viewsAR Denarius, 3.00g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
RIC 791 (C). BMC 237. RSC 294. BNC 210.
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; Minerva, winged, flying l., with spear and shield
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

This coin belongs to one of the final issues Domitian minted in the last year of his reign. It is interesting to note that this winged Minerva is a new type never before seen on his coinage. The type is common, thus it was minted in large quantities, which cannot be said of the other new types (the 'monumental' series, Maia, and warrior with spear & trophy) which were also introduced in the final year of his reign.

Mattingly observed Domitian's portraits at the time were "fine and ambitious ... with an upward lift of face, which, if it does not symbolize prayer, like the 'praying type' of Constantine, certainly suggests lofty aspirations". Those "lofty aspirations" were cut short by an assassin's knife on September 18th, 96 AD.
2 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 13, 2013
V1424_R3.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1424141 viewsAR Denarius, 3.32g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD
RIC 1424 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC 827 (1 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: LIBERI IMP AVG VESPAS; Titus and Domitian veiled, togate, stg. front (heads l.), each with patera; below, BY mint mark
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

This coin has a lot going for it. The dynastic reverse type dated COS III normally has the EPHE mint mark on the reverse, here we have BY - extremely rare. The Group 5 series this coin is from is also exceeding rare, full of R3 coins and unpublished types. This particular type is listed in RIC as R3, citing an American Numismatic Society specimen (RIC plate coin), so second known example - both from the same dies.

Well centered with a wonderfully stern portrait. One of my favourite types from this mint.



9 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 11, 2013
cc17425a.jpg
Domitian RIC 6465 viewsAR Denarius, 3.18g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 64 (R). BMC p. 301 note. RSC 573. BNC 14.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, semicircular frame decorated with corn ears
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, group lot 806.

The pulvinar seat type with a semicircular frame is strangely not a common one among the group four denarii of 81 AD. Also, the presence here of corn ears instead of three crescents is rare as well. The BMCRE notes and the RSC entry cites only the crescents for this type (see my RIC 100 for an example of the crescent type). A rare coin indeed!

A pleasing portrait on an unusually well centered and struck early type. Part of the Pulvinaria series issued by Titus and Domitian.
4 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 06, 2013
cc17425c.jpg
Domitian RIC-572105 viewsAR Denarius, 3.42g
Rome mint, 88 AD
RIC 572 (C3). BMC 115. RSC 235. BNC 114.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, group lot 806. Ex Helios, November 2010 (A. Lynn Collection).

A common type from a common issue - however, the portrait is stylistically quite well done. Do not think for a moment this is how Domitian appeared in reality! The portraits of Domitian after the mint overhaul earlier in the reign became quite idealised. Those of 88 AD contain some of the finest examples of this style.

Well centred with plenty of eye appeal.
8 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 05, 2013
V1492.jpg
09b Domitian as Caesar RIC-1492112 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1492 (R). BMC 487. RSC 45c. RPC 1466 (3 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r. 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: COS IIII across field; Eagle stg. facing on garlanded base, wings open, head r.
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, group lot 806.

A delightful Domitian as Caesar denarius from the rare 'o' mint. RIC speculates the mysterious mint is Ephesus based on the use of the 'o' mint mark which was also used at that mint in its last known series in 74.

This reverse type of Eagle on garlanded base is known from Rome for Vespasian and Titus. A wonderful portrait accompanies this large flan specimen.


5 commentsDavid AthertonFeb 04, 2013
V528A.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC 528A99 viewsAR Denarius, 3.36g
Rome mint, 73 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 528A. BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: T CAES IMP VESP PON TR POT CENS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: NEP RED; Neptune stg. l., r. foot on globe, with acrostolium and sceptre
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 637. Ex Gorny & Mosch 122, 10 March 2003, lot 2043 = 113, 18 October 2001, lot 5729.

An unpublished Neptune type with CENS in the obverse legend. The coin will be 528A (under Vespasian) in the RIC II Addenda. It fits nicely alongside my unpublished V529A Salus from the same series. I think there are still a few other unknown types that will surface for this series - this Neptune reverse for the corresponding Vespasian issue is one that so far is awaiting discovery.

A beautiful denarius in hand with an amazing early portrait. The other two denarii I have from this series also have exemplary portraits. An issue style wise to take note of then.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJan 30, 2013
V1440Amd.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC-1440A108 viewsAR Denarius, 2.69g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1440A. BMC 467 var. RSC 39 var. RPC 843 var. BNC 358 var.
Obv: IMPERATOR T CAESAR AVGVSTI E (sic); Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue, EPHE
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N Sneh Collection, lot 742. Acquired from Ponterio, c. 2003.

This denarius features an engraver's error in the obverse legend. Instead of ending in the normal F the engraver mistakenly engraved an E. It is also an obverse die match to the unique British Museum aureus RIC V1437. A wonderful example of aurei and denarii sharing dies! The coin has been assigned by Carradice as V1440A (obv 2B) in the upcoming RIC II addenda.

Not only is this coin interesting for the engraver's error and die link - it's also in excellent style with an outstanding portrait. Truly a gorgeous coin.


6 commentsDavid AthertonJan 29, 2013
V1440.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC-1440118 viewsAR Denarius, 3.27g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1440 (R). BMC 467. RSC 39. RPC 843 (4 spec.). BNC 358.
Obv: IMPERATOR T CAESAR AVGVSTI F; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue, EPHE
Ex Gemini X, 13 January 2013, Harry N. Sneh Collection, lot 741.

Another great portrait of the young Titus from this artistically pleasing mint. The reverse is one shared with Vespasian.
An obverse and reverse die match to the RIC plate coin, perhaps an indication of its rarity.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJan 28, 2013
V1543A.JPG
Vespasian-RIC-1542A87 viewsAR Denarius, 2.80g
Antioch (?) mint, 72-73 AD
RIC 1542A (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: AVGVR above TRI POT below; priestly implements
Ex G&N, eBay, 22 November 2012.

The type copies a contemporary Rome issue, but is clearly not from that mint. The best fit style wise is Antioch, which also issued this reverse type with a slightly different obverse legend. The lettering is rendered rather crudely similar to many Antiochene denarii. Until this specimen surfaced, this obverse legend combined with the priestly implements reverse was completely unknown for Antioch. Both the legend and the type are extremely rare for this mint. The new RIC II authors Ian Carradice and Ted Buttrey agree the coin is Syrian in style and have tentatively assigned it to the upcoming RIC II Addenda as 1542A, although Carradice hasn't completely ruled out the possibility it is a barbarous copy. Harry Sneh also agreed the best fit is Antioch, proposing that there may have been several mints operating in Syria and this may be the product of one of them.

It is quite possible there are other examples out there misattributed to Rome as yet unrecognised, as this example had been by the seller. It pays to know your mints!
4 commentsDavid AthertonDec 06, 2012
V1422sm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-142289 viewsAR Denarius, 2.72g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1422 (R). BMC 447. RSC 289. RPC 826 (4 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI ORB TERR AVG; Turreted and draped female bust, r.; below, BY

This was a tough one to ID. The obverse legend is not the most legible at a crucial area - the COS date. Upon having it in hand I can see it is COS II. The reverse should have one of two mint marks below the bust, but it is completely worn away. Luckily I found a reverse die match, amazingly the RIC plate coin for 1422, putting this denarius in group 4 with the BY mint mark.

A decent coin with excellent toning and in fine Ephesian style. Much better in hand.
5 commentsDavid AthertonDec 03, 2012
V1060sm.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1060112 viewsAR Denarius, 2.75g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 1060 (R). BMC 252. RSC 556. BNC 218.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: TR POT X COS VIIII; Capricorn l.; below, globe

A fairly rare left facing example of the common Capricorn reverse.

Worn but well centered with nice chocolate toning. Much better in hand.

3 commentsDavid AthertonNov 26, 2012
V1088.jpg
08a Domitian as Caesar RIC-108886 viewsAR Denarius, 3.14g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
RIC 1088 (R3). BMC p. 46 note. RSC 379. BNC -.
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Vesta std. l., with Palladium and sceptre
Ex Den of Antiquity (eBay), October 2012.

A very rare (4th known) left facing portrait of the common Vesta and Palladium reverse. It is listed in Cohen as 379 (citing lot 784 of the de Moustier Sale of 1872) , although the new RIC states it is unverified (?). The lone example cited by RIC is in G. Mazzini's Monete imperiali romane, vol. 1. Also, Curtis Clay has a specimen, same die pair as mine. Left facing portraits of Domitian are extremely rare, especially those as Caesar.

Worn but all the major devices are visible.

Thanks to Curtis Clay for additional attribution help!
David AthertonNov 19, 2012
T40.JPG
Titus RIC 4076 viewsAR Denarius, 3.40
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 40 (C). BMC 23. RSC 287. BNC 19.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XV COS VII P P; Ceres std. l., with corn ears and poppy and torch

The common seated Ceres reverse from the third issue of 79. Coins from this issue are somewhat rarer than those from the previous two.

A solid example of the type, struck in good metal and decent style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonNov 13, 2012
V1422AC.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1422AC149 viewsAR Denarius, 2.64g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD
RIC 1422AC (R2). BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue BY
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

An unlisted type for Vespasian's Ephesus Group 5 denarii. In the upcoming RIC II addenda this type should be assigned 1422AC. The confronting heads of Titus and Domitian is now the only type not known for this series, which Harry Sneh pointed out to me is likely waiting to be discovered. As far as rarity is concerned - one other example is known, ex Lynn collection, so R2. Both share the same dies.

Not only is this a very rare type, stylistically it is quite stunning. One of the best portraits of Vespasian I've seen on a coin.


9 commentsDavid AthertonOct 17, 2012
T19.jpg
Roman Empire, Titus RIC 19198 viewsAR denarius
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 19 (C), BMC 22, RSC 280
Obv - IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG PM; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev - TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII P P; Capricorn l. : below, globe.
2 commentsDavid AthertonOct 10, 2012
D96.jpg
Domitian RIC 96116 viewsAR Denarius, 3.26g
Rome mint, 82 AD
RIC 96 (C). BMC 29. RSC 593. BNC 32.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR POT COS VIII P P; Dolphin coiled round anchor
Acquired from Lucernae, September 2012.

A fairly common early pulvinar of Neptune reverse of Domitian which is a carry over from an issue of Titus' before his death the previous year. Most likely the reverse is part of a religious series commemorating the opening of the Colosseum. This reverse and the series it comes from would be discontinued later the same year when Domitian radically changed the coinage by introducing new types and increasing the fineness of the denarius.

A wonderful coin in hand with a few minor scrapes which don't detract from the overall eye appeal. This type is rarely seen in such fine condition.
6 commentsDavid AthertonSep 24, 2012
T34.JPG
Roman Empire, Titus RIC 3484 viewsAR denarius
Rome Mint, 79 AD
RIC 34 (C2), BMC 9, RSC 268
Obv - IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, Laureate, bearded, r.
Rev - TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII P P; Venus, seen half from behind, naked except for drapery round hips, standing r., resting l. elbow on column, holding helmet in extended r. hand and transverse spear in l.: shield rests against column
3 commentsDavid AthertonSep 10, 2012
T6.JPG
Titus RIC 06107 viewsAR Denarius, 2.80g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 6 (R2). BMC p. 432. RSC 270a. BNC 1.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII; Ceres std. l., with corn ears and poppy and torch
Acquired from Marc Walter, eBay, 25 August 2012.

Minted in 79 AD after 1 July, this is an early denarius, indicated by the absence of P P (Pater Patriae) in the reverse legend.
The Ceres reverse is a carry-over type struck by Vespasian in 79 before his death and adopted by Titus after he donned the purple.

A type that is quite rare and hard to come by in trade. A reverse die match with the RIC plate coin.
7 commentsDavid AthertonSep 06, 2012
V1421.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1421115 viewsAR Denarius, 3.02g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1421 (R). BMC 446. RSC 278. RPC 825 (5 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory adv. l., with wreath and palm; at lower l., BY
Acquired from Den of Antiquity, August 2012.

This denarius is part of the fourth series minted at Ephesus. Most of the denarii with the BY mint mark are fairly rare.

A decently toned coin with a good portrait, although flatly struck.
4 commentsDavid AthertonSep 05, 2012
T41.jpg
Titus RIC 4189 viewsAR Denarius, 3.24g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 41 (R2). BMC p. 227 note. RSC 287a. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XV COS VII P P; Ceres std. l., with corn ears and poppy and torch
Acquired from CGB, August 2012.

This is a rare portrait left of this IMP XV Ceres reverse type. It is foot noted in BMCRE and only one specimen is cited in RIC from Belgrade (not pictured in plates).

All the coins from this series are a bit rarer than other series minted by Titus, and those with left facing portraits are even scarcer! A good coin in decent metal and style.
5 commentsDavid AthertonSep 03, 2012
V1414.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1414142 viewsAR Denarius, 3.40g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1414 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC 822 (1 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: AVG and BY in oak wreath
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

This is an extremely rare type from the very rare "BY" COS II series. When the new RIC volume was first published only one known example (Vienna) of this type was known, since then my coin and another example from a CNG auction in 2008 have surfaced.

Not only is this coin rare but the portrait is very stylish and the condition is superb. The best known specimen of the type and a beauty in hand.
4 commentsDavid AthertonAug 20, 2012
D342_2012.jpg
Domitian RIC-342139 viewsAR Denarius, 3.13g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 342 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG•GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield (M1)
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.

Another very rare denarius from a brief series minted in 85. Interesting to note that two silver medallions (4 and 8 denarii weight) were minted in this series. Not in London or Paris. RIC cites Berlin and the Jyrki Muona collection (this coin).

Struck on a large flan (21 mm) and toned almost a chocolate brown. The portrait is pretty stylish too. Same reverse die as the RIC plate coin.
This is a wonderful coin in hand.

Thanks to Harry Sneh for additional info.
6 commentsDavid AthertonAug 16, 2012
T132_obv.jpg
Titus RIC-132430 viewsAR Denarius, 2.92g
Rome mint, 80 AD
RIC 132 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII P P; Tripod, with fillets streaming out l. and r., on which are ravens r. and l., and in the center, dolphin over wreath
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

This type is extremely rare with left facing portrait. In all the years I've collected Flavian denarii this is the only one I've ever been offered or seen for sale. RIC cites only an ebay specimen, where are the others? The rarity is woefully underrated in RIC.

Despite the scratches and worn condition this is a wonderful coin, IMHO.
7 commentsDavid AthertonAug 13, 2012
V977.jpg
Vespasian RIC-977191 viewsAR Denarius, 3.19g
Rome mint, 77-78 AD
RIC 977 (R). BMC 220. RSC 220. BNC 193.
Obv: CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: IMP XIX in exergue; Goatherd std. l., milking goat l.
Acquired from Ancient Delights, August 2012.

One of the more interesting types issued in the whole of Flavian denarii. The goatherd milking goat reverse was minted along side a series of agrarian themed types (sow and piglets, modius and grain ears) perhaps evoking a message of agricultural bounty. The message and meaning of the reverse must have been very clear to city dwelling Romans but the subtleties are lost on us. The same type was also minted for Titus as Caesar, both types are very rare.

I had a devil of time finding this type, let alone one in such wonderful condition. Most of the reverses on these are worn away, here the rough cloak of the goatherd is distinctly visible. This coin is an obverse and reverse die match with the RIC plate coin.
7 commentsDavid AthertonAug 07, 2012
T368c-1.jpg
Titus RIC-368 Mule444 viewsAR Denarius, 3.30g
Rome mint, 79-80 AD
RIC 368 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: EX S C across field; Victory adv. l., placing shield on trophy; below, Judaea std. l.

A very interesting mule featuring an obverse of Titus as Augustus and a reverse intended for the deified Vespasian. Until this specimen surfaced only one other was known, it belonging to Curtis Clay, which is an obverse and reverse die match to my example. If I may be so bold, the following is what Curtis Clay wrote about his own specimen in 2005 which I cannot improve upon.

"This denarius is without doubt a mint mule, combining an obverse of Titus as Augustus with a reverse meant for Divus Vespasian. A normal denarius of Divus Vespasian with rev. STRUCK FROM THIS SAME DIE was in Rauch 67, part I, 26 Feb. 2001, 368 (I tried to acquire it too but was outbid!).
Does any list member possess a normal aureus or denarius of Titus struck from this same head-left obv. die, and if so, what is the reverse? It is a matter of some historical significance whether this obverse die belongs to 23 June-31 Dec. AD 79, the first six months of Titus' reign, COS VII on rev., or the next six months, AD 80 up to July 1, COS VIII on rev. (After that, perhaps because the mint burned down in the fire of 80, no more aurei or denarii were produced at Rome until the accession of Domitian in Sept. 81.)
Being able to date this obv. die would more or less solve a vexing question, namely when was Vespasian consecrated?
T.V. Buttrey, following H. Mattingly, believes that the consecration must have been postponed until 80, since all coins of Domitian as COS VI (79), plus a few as COS VII (80), call him simply AVG F, Son of the Augustus. Only when new aureus and denarius rev. types were introduced for Domitian early in 80 was his filiation changed to DIVI F, Son of the Consecrated Emperor.
I however think Vespasian was probably consecrated immediately after he died on 23 June 79. The persistence of AVG F for Domitian into 80 is odd and I cannot explain it, but I think this fact is outweighed by two other considerations.
First, it was natural, indeed inevitable, that the status of a deceased emperor, deification or condemnation, should be decided by the Senate immediately after his death. Immediate consecration or condemnation is explicitly attested for a number of other emperors before and after Vespasian. Delay could occur when the successor wanted consecration to enhance his own prestige but the Senate thirsted for revenge by condemnation, as in the cases of Tiberius and Hadrian, but there was no such disagreement about Vespasian: both Titus and the Senate surely favored his consecration. So it is impossible to explain why his consecration should have been postponed for six or more months after his death.
Second, the mint was striking aurei and denarii for Vespasian in four rev. types during the final six months of his life, Jan.-June 79.
When Vespasian died, three of these types were taken over by Titus as Augustus and, judging from the numbers in the Reka Devnia hoard, were struck in about the same volume until the end of 79 as the three types of Titus as Caesar in 79 which he also continued as Augustus. The aureus and denarius type of Domitian as Caesar in 79 also did not change when Vespasian died. In other words seven of the eight common aureus and denarius types of 79, three of Vespasian which were carried on by Titus, three of Titus himself first Caesar then Augustus, and one of Domitian Caesar, were without doubt struck continuously from beginning to end of the year.
But what about the fourth common precious-metal type of Vespasian alive in 79, Victory placing shield on Trophy? This type was not struck for Titus as Augustus, instead we find it with obverse of DIVVS AVGVSTVS VESPASIANVS, and with the titles of Vesp. on reverse changed to EX SC to convert it into a consecration type! This type was about as common in the Reka Devnia hoard as the six denarius types of Titus as Augustus in the second half of 79.
I find it impossible to believe that this type was revived for Divus Vespasian after his alleged delayed consecration early in 80. It sticks out like a sore thumb among the other precious metal types of Divus Vespasian, as the only one to merely repeat a type of the living Vespasian instead of advertising the new honors that had been decreed with his consecration. No: obviously the type belongs to the second half of 79, contemporaneous with the other three types of the living Vespasian which Titus had taken over for himself, proving that Vespasian was consecrated immediately after he died!
This is the same rev. type of Divus Vespasian that was wrongly coupled with an obv. die of Titus as Augustus on the denarius reproduced here. If my chronology is correct, this will have been an obv. die of AD 79 and will also have been coupled with correct reverses of Titus dated COS VII not COS VIII, if such coins have survived and can be found!
I have searched without success for this obv. die in coinarchives, wildwinds, several photofiles compiled from printed sale catalogues and lists, and the major published museum catalogues."

Interestingly enough, earlier this year an obverse die match was found with an appropriate Titus reverse (Tripod and dolphin) dating to 80 AD.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJul 31, 2012
D31.JPG
Domitian RIC 31133 viewsAR Denarius, 2.90g
Rome mint, 81 AD
RIC 31 (R2). BMC 7. RSC 59. BNC 7.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, semicircular frame decorated with three crescents

A rare "PONT" denarius minted very early in Domitian's reign. The "T" in PONT is just off flan. The "PONT" denarii were minted before Domitian completed the religious rites required to be Pontifex Maximus. Same obverse die as the BM and Paris specimens (Thank you Curtis Clay).

A coin only a collector could love. Corroded and polished (!), but still lovely, IMHO.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJul 30, 2012
V1426.JPG
Vespasian-RIC-1426118 viewsAR Denarius, 2.95g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD
RIC 1426 (R2). BMC 450. RSC 293a. RPC 828 (1 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI ORB TERR AVG; Turreted and draped female bust, r.; below, BY
Ex Helios, eBay, 15 July 2012.

A rare mint mark for this type with the obverse legend COS III. Normally one would find the EPHE mint mark on the reverse. Apparently all the other coins from the same series are R3! A rare coin indeed.

The obverse is a bit flatly struck but otherwise the coin has excellent eye appeal.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJul 25, 2012
V1069-1.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1069106 viewsAR Denarius, 2.86g
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 1069 (R). BMC 248. RSC 553. BNC 216.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: TR POT X COS VIIII; Victory stg. l., placing shield on trophy; below, captive std. l.

A rare left facing obverse portrait of this Victory, captive and trophy type from 79 AD, minted in the last months of Vespasian's reign. The type was later used by Titus for the Divvs Vespasian denarii minted in either 79 or 80.

The coin is worn and a bit corroded but better in hand than the picture suggests.
5 commentsDavid AthertonJul 23, 2012
2810301.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1407159 viewsAR Denarius, 2.89g
Ephesus mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1407 (R), BMC 437. RSC 291. RPC 813 (6 spec.). BNC 335.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI ORB TERR AVG; Turreted and draped female bust, r.; below, horizontal Φ
Ex CNG E281, 20 June 2012, lot 301.

A unique to this mint denarius type minted early in the reign. The turreted female bust symbolises the world and the legend advertises the world peace brought by Vespasian. Flavian propaganda at its most positive.

Both portraits are in fine style and high relief.
12 commentsDavid AthertonJul 03, 2012
Vespasian_Denar_Ephesus.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1412154 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Ephesus mint, 70 AD
RIC 1412 (R). BMC p. 92 note. RSC 278a, RPC 820 (5 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE; Victory adv. l., with wreath and palm; at lower l., horizontal Φ
Ex Private Collection.

A fairly common reverse type from Ephesus that is rare with this mint mark. You could spend a lifetime collecting the mint mark variations for this mint!

Another wonderful high relief portrait, one of the best I've seen.
A bit off-center but with good details and fine style.
(Thanks kc!)
12 commentsDavid AthertonJun 18, 2012
58678q00.jpg
Vespasian RIC 39117 viewsAR Denarius, 2.69g
Rome mint, 71 AD
RIC 39 (R). BMC 59A. RSC 564. BNC 41.
Obv: IMP CAES VES-P AVG P M; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: TRI POT II COS III P P; Mars adv. r., with spear and aquila
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, June 2012. Ex Maridvnvm Collection.

A very rare Vespasian denarius from 71 AD. The reverse features the familiar Mars walking right with spear and aquila, nothing new there...however, it's the shorter obverse legend used in early 71 and the (unique to this series) TRI POT II COS III P P reverse legend that makes this a rare denarius. Oddly enough, the only other denarius from the same series (Pax seated) was minted in copious amounts.

The coin itself has deep cabinet toning and good centering. Very nice in hand. Vespasian seems to be cracking a rare smile too.
7 commentsDavid AthertonJun 12, 2012
10702LG.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1400112 viewsAR Denarius, 2.81g
Ephesus mint, 69-70 AD
RIC 1400 (R). BMC 434A. RSC 65c. RPC 809 (5 spec.). BNC -.
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres std. l., on ornate high-backed chair, with corn ears and poppy and cornucopiae; in exergue, horizontal Φ
Ex G&N, eBay, 04 June 2012. Ex Hirsch 280, 9 February 2012, lot 4664.

Part of an early series from Ephesus, the coin is quite rare, as are most of the coins from the same issue. The BM has two specimens.

Minted on a fairly tight flan, the coin has a pleasing style and is in good metal.

Thanks to Curtis Clay for additional attribution help.
4 commentsDavid AthertonJun 09, 2012