Vespasian AR Denarius,
Rome mint, 79 AD
RIC 1069 (R). BMC 248. RSC 553.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: TR POT X COS VIIII; Victory stg. l., placing shield on trophy; below, captive std. l.
Left facing denarii were struck for Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. Some of the left facing denarii for Vespasian and Titus are quite rare. However, all of the left facing denarii of Domitian are rare to extremely rare.
The right facing version of this coin of Vespasian is a common coin. In general the left facing denarii are scarcer overall but in many cases they are not as rare as the left facing denarii struck for Domitian. In fact, there are a number of cases in the denarii for Vespasian and Titus where the only difference between coin types is the direction of the portrait.
Yes, I bought this coin for the rare left facing portrait, but I also wanted it for another reason. This coin was struck very late in the reign of Vespasian. It was struck before the date of his death on June 24th 79 CE. Therefore, this coin was struck in the last 6 months of his life. I find that to be interesting, and a good enough reason to want this coin.
Some may consider that this reverse refers once again to Vespasian's victory over the population of Judea. The fact that it is possible that a number of his coins referred to that victory throughout his reign means that this event was very important to the Roman population at the time, or that Vespasian wanted to make sure that the victory was remembered. It is also important to remember that the victory over Judea was not just referred to on the coins of Vespasian, the coins of Titus also recalled the event.