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Vespasian Denarius 76 CE

Vespasian (69-79). AR Denarius

(18.5mm, 2.77g, 6h).

Ephesus? , c. AD 76.

Obv: Laureate head r.IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG

Rev: Pegasus stepping r. COS - VII

RIC II 1473; RSC 114a; RPC II 1451.

Rare, Good Fine

St Paul Antiquities Auction 18 Lot 347 October 13, 2018

I knew when I saw this coin that I wanted it. I already have the Domitian with the Pegasus reverse. When I saw this Vespasian with a Pegasus reverse I wondered why this reverse would be on a coin of Vespasian. It appears as if this coin is a mule. The obverse portrait is muled with the Domitian Pegasus reverse.

The mysterious 'O' mint is one mint where this practice is known. There is an 'O' on these coins but little else is known about this mint. In RIC II Part one, the authors tentatively assign this group of denarii to Ephesus. The truth is the location of the 'O' mint is unknown.

This coin is another example of where the obverse is not the most attractive side of the coin. Imho the reverse is not only more interesting but features a very well rendered depiction of Pegasus. The engraving is truly artistic.

This leads me to another aspect of these coins-the legends are often blundered for this mint. Why the celators would take so much care with the devices and not as much with the legends is another 'O' mint mystery.

Mysterious or not, I was immediately attracted to this coin. I feel very lucky to have landed it because it is one of only a handful of examples I have seen or know about.

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