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Domitian AR Denarius 81 CE (Group 4)

Domitian, AR Denarius 81-96 CE. (81 CE Group 4)

Obv: Laureate head right; IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT

Rev: Tripod with fillets; dolphin above; TR P COS VII DES VIII P P

RIC: 73 (R3) Not in the RIC plates

Purchased from Barakat Gallery Los Angeles

I was very happy to grab this one. It is a rare PONT denarius. All PONT denarii are either R2 (very few examples known to the authors of RIC 2007) or R3 (one example known). This coin happens to be R3, so there was only one known at the time of publication. I know where there are 3 of these. One is the RIC reference coin (it is not in the plates), the second one is owned by a Forum Ancient Coins member, and this one is the third.

I really like these first year coins of Domitian as Augustus. I find the reverse types interesting and I like the unsanitized portraits. For example, his later coins have a much more attractive nose. These coins tend to have a resemblance to coins of Titus. Understandable I suppose as Titus died unexpectedly after only 2 years in office and the delators must have been in a rush to begin the striking of new coinage.

I now have several PONT denarii. As is common with coins of Domitian, a number of these coins were misattributed. If you are going to look for a PONT denarius it is important to check the references twice when you are looking at a potential coin. I highly recommend RIC (2007), as it is the most up to date. RIC contains references for many coins of Domitian that do not appear in BMCRE or RSC. This is especially true for the PONT denarii. There are many PONT denarii the appear in RIC (2007) that do not appear in the other references.

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