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Domitian AR Denarius 85 CE (Fourth Issue)

Domitian, 81-96. Denarius 85 CE Fourth Issue

(Silver, 20 mm, 3.32 g, 6 h), Rome.

Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII Laureate head of Domitian to right, wearing aegis.

Rev. IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P Minerva standing front, head to left, holding thunderbolt in her right hand and a spear in her left; behind her, shield.

BMC 79. Cohen 178 var. (without aegis). RIC 336 (R2).

Leu Numismatic E-Auction 8 Lot 1038 June 30, 2019.

I was absolutely thrilled to win this coin in an auction. There are 2 reasons I wanted it. First, it has CENS POT in the reverse legend. I am actively seeking out denarii with this legend. Secondly, have a close look at the bust on the obverse. Far down on the neck is an Aegis. In this case the Aegis is a Gorgon. While the Aegis does occur on both bronze and silver coins of Domitian, its use is quite rare on denarii. Usually these coins are misattributed in auctions. It is worth buying the reference book RIC II Part 1 if you are going to chase these coins. One reason is that many of these rare coins do not appear in any other reference.

If you see a denarius of Domitian appear that has Aegis on the breast such as this one above, grab it before someone else notices it. There are a few sharp eyed Flavian fanatics out there who consistently scour the auction listings looking for rarities such as this one. I should know, I am one of them.

I would like to have the other Aegis coins from this issue but they do not appear very often.

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