Domitian AR Denarius 81 CE
Obv: Head laureate r; IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PM
Rev: Minerva adv r with spear and shield; COS VII DES VIII PP
RIC 28 (R2)
At first glance this might seem like any regular coin of Domitian featuring Minerva on the reverse. However, this coin is special for when it was struck. It was minted in the first few months of Domitian's rule as Augustus. It is a part of what RIC calls group 3 denarii of 81 CE. Group 2 denarii are all very rare coins. Group 3 denarii are close to being as rare as group 2 coins. What separates these issues is the reverse legend. In the case of Group 2 denarii the reverse legends begins with PP. In the case of Group 3 denarii the reverse legend ends with PP. Though I have been looking for a couple of years I have only seen 1 Group 2 denarius available in the marketplace. Groups 3 denarii are not much easier to find.
I really like the youthful portrait on this coin. The reverse features an early Minerva. It would not be until 83 CE that the Minerva reverses would come to dominate the denarii issues of Domitian. My previous blog post concerned a denarius with "PONT" in the obverse legend. It so happens that this coin also has a version with "PONT" in the obverse legend. At the time the new RIC was published there was only one of these known. I would love to find one of these. In the meantime I will enjoy having the above rarity in my collection.