Domitian AR Denarius. Rome, 88 CE. First Issue
3.25g, 19mm, 6h.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMAN PM TR P VII, laureate head right
Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva standing right with spear and shield. RIC 573 (R2)
Ex: Roma Numismatics E-Sale 59 July 11, 2019 Lot 799
This lovely coin has a great portrait. However, what is most interesting is not the portrait but the obverse legend. Note that instead of GERM, the coin reads GERMAN. There are only 5 types of denarii listed in RIC that have GERMAN in the obverse legend and all of are at least R2 (very few examples known). This coin was attributed as RIC 572, a common coin. This coin is definitely not common. I had been looking for one for months when I stumbled across this example a few weeks ago. While there are a few encrustations near the left legend on the reverse, I quite like the look of this coin overall. Of course, it is a nice bonus that it is so scarce.
I love tracking down these misattributed coins that are missed by others, it is a lot of fun. I do not blame anyone for missing this one as GERM is so common in the obverse legend that many would not not even read the legend to begin with. My photo does not do it justice but this coin has lovely toning. I am lucky that this was in such nice condition, though if it was very worn or had other problems I would have bought it anyway. When a true rarity comes along I do not let condition bother me at all.
So, keep an eye out for legend variations on denarii of Domitian. GERMAN is not the only variation that exists. One of my other posts on this blog has another Domitian denarius with just such a variation.