DOMITIAN, (A.D. 81-96), silver denarius, Rome mint, issued A.D. 86, Second Issue
Obv. laureate head of Domitian to right, around IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V, Rev. around IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P, Minerva standing to right, fighting, holding javelin and shield,
(RIC 435, RSC 201b BMC 93).
Attractive blue and gold patina, extremely fine.
Ex Dr V.J.A. Flynn Collection. With old dealer's ticket.
Noble Numismatics Auction 120 Lot 3217 April 4, 2019.
This coin was part of the second issue of Domitian for 86 CE. Most of the denarii for 86 CE are rare and this coin is no exception. However, that was only one of the considerations I had for buying this coin. The other is the amazing condition of this coin. There is very little wear on this coin at all. I find this remarkable for a coin that is more than 1900 years old. The quality of the portrait is superb and the condition helps to highlight this. Having said that, the reverse is no slouch either. the rendering of the Minerva is artistic and extremely well preserved.
I like worn coins as well because they tell a story. One wonders who has touched the coin, what did they buy with it? Coins like the one above were hardly used by anyone at all. So in one way the worn coin has the advantage of having a story that connects it to the people who used it. However, this is also something special about an artifact that is so well preserved that it can take you back to an earlier time. You are seeing the coin much as your ancestors saw it almost 2000 years ago. I would argue that this connect us to history as well. All ancient coins have a history and it is fascinating to speculate about that history.
I know that this coin looks like just another Minerva reverse for Domitian, but for me it is a special coin that shall take an honoured spot in my collection.