Domitian AR Denarius 81CE (Group 4)

Domitian, as Augustus (AD 81-96). (Group 4)

AR denarius Rome

13 September-31 December AD 81

(18mm, 3.02 gm, 6h).

NGC Choice Fine 4/5 - 4/5.

Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M, laureate head of Domitian right Rev: TR P COS VII-DES VIII P P, pulvinar of Jupiter and Juno, draped, surmounted by thunderbolt.

RIC II 72 (R2), BMC--, RSC--, Cohen--

2019 August 18 Ancient Coin Selections from the Morris Collection, Part II Monthly Online Auction #271933Lot # 35169

I really wanted this denarius of Domitian. Why? First, it was struck during Domitian's first year as Augustus. In 81 CE there were 4 issues of precious metal coinage. They are grouped in RIC by the reverse legend. The chronology of these 4 groups is uncertain. Some coins do not have titles that one would expect. For example, why is TR P omitted from some of these coins when it does appear for Group 1 denarii? The second reason I wanted this coin was for the rare obverse legend IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M. There are only 9 denarii types that have this legend. All of the coins with this legend are either R2 (very few examples known to the RIC authors) or R3 (only one example known). This coin is R2 and is a very difficult coin to find in trade. I also very much like the young portrait on this coin.

This coin makes 10 denarii I have from 81 CE. I am always on the lookout for more as I find these early denarii for Domitian fascinating. I like them for the mysteries they contain, the rarity, and the interesting obverse legends. For example, it is within groups 2, 3, and 4 that one finds the elusive PONT denarii. PONT occurs in the obverse legends on these coins and all of them are rated R2 or R3. In other words the PONT denarii are all very rare to extremely rare.

I hope that this coin will not be my last purchase from these first year denarii. Also, while I usually free a coin from its slab as soon as I receive it, this one will stay in the plastic. The reason is that this coin has a provenance. It was part of the Morris collection. I like having this information directly on the slab where it cannot be separated from the coin. I have been very interested lately in collecting coins with provenance. Because of the ever increasing regulations and agreements being applied to ancient coins I feel that provenance is going to become very important to collectors in the next few years.

I will leave you with a tip. If you are looking for a coin like mine with an unusual obverse legend be sure to check the auctions and dealer inventory very carefully. These coins are often misattributed. It is quite possible to find coins like this marked as common because the legends have been misread.