Domitianus (81 - 96 AD). Denarius. 83 AD Rome. (20 mm 3.47 g) Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M. Head with laurel wreath on the right. Rev: TR POT II COS VIIII OF THE XP P. Minerva with lance and shield on capital standing to the right, in front of it an owl. RIC 164 (R2); C.606; BMC 4
On first glance this looks like just another Minerva reverse denarius. However, there are 2 features which make it interesting. Firstly, it was minted in 83 CE. This makes it a first issue Minerva denarius. The Minerva series would dominate the denarii issues for the rest of Domitian's rule. Another piece of information which makes this coin interesting is that the silver of which it is composed is nearly 100% fine. This was due to monetary reforms instituted by Domitian.
Of course this coin is interesting for other reasons as well, including its rarity and condition. The new RIC II Part 1 (2007) designates this coin as R2 which means very few examples known. The other factor which needs to be considered is its condition. Personally I am not obsessed with the grades of ancient coins as I find grades to be difficult and not very useful at all. The portrait on the obverse is striking. Just look at that full head of hair. Of course it is the reverse where this coin really shines. The depiction of Minerva is fully detailed and quite sharp over 1900 years after it was minted. The full legends on both sides of the coin also make this coin both attractive and desirable. I was very fortunate to find this one.
This coin shall have an important place in my 12 Caesars collection.