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Vespasian AR Denarius 79-24 June

Vespasian AR Denarius 79 CE to June 24

(19mm, 3.03g.)


Rev: TR POT X COS VIIII; Capricorn left below globe

RIC 1060 (R)

Ex: Savoca Auctions 30th blue auction Lot 1505, March 22, 2020.

This type is seen very frequently for Titus. For Vespasian RIC 1058 which has this reverse but features a right facing portrait is labeled as common. This left facing variety is definitely no common. I know the coin is worn, but when you come upon a rarity you had better buy it regardless of the condition because you never know when you will see one again.

Besides the rarity the other reason to have this coin is the Capricorn reverse. Vespasian copied many earlier reverse types for past Emperors such as Augustus. This is the case here. Also in this blog you can see the Augustus with Capricorn (RIC 126). It is nice to have the coin that inspired this current acquisition.

The speculation is that emperors like Vespasian who used earlier reverse types on their own coins did so for a couple of reasons. First would be to Honorius previous popular emperors. However, the most important reason is to send a message to the Roman people. The message I believe would be that the current ruler will bring glory to the empire and people of Rome like a previous emperor did. That is, the current emperor seeks a connection to an earlier or even golden age. The suggestion is that "Fel Temps Reparatio", or Happy times are here again.

I really like these issues that call to mind earlier periods of Roman history. I find it interesting to look at these coins as political propaganda.

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