Domitian AR Denarius (81 CE) (Group 4) Obv: Laureate head left; IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG PM Rev: Tripod with fillets, Dolphin above; TR P COS VII DES VIII PP RIC 75 (R2) BMC Note p. 302 RSC 568d Purchased from Monetarium on MA-Shops December 6th 2019
It should not be difficult to figure out why I wanted this coin. While Domitian's non precious metal coinage features a number of left facing portraits of Domitian, all left facing portraits on denarii are very rare. If you see a left facing denarius of Domitian grab it! You might see one every few years. However, when they appear at auction the competition is fierce to say the least. I have never heard a satisfactory explanation for the fact that while left facing portraits occur with some regularity for Titus and Vespasian on their denarii they do not appear very often at all for Domitian. In fact, of the hundreds of coin types in RIC for Domitian denarii there are only 3 left facing types for Domitian as Caesar and only 14 types for Domitian as Augustus.
All of the examples of this coin that I can find share the same obverse die. I have seen more than one reverse die but only this obverse die as seen on my coin. A lack of diversity in obverse dies confirms the rarity of this coin. There are only 2 types of left facing denarii for Domitian in his first year as Augustus and this coin is one of them.
Needless to say I am absolutely thrilled to add this example to my collection. I am very much enjoying the process of adding and researching these coins. It is a lot of fun!