Domitian AR Denarius Unknown mint in Asia Minor. ‘O’ mint. 76 CE
Obv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III; Head Laureate right, a small ‘O’ is visible below the neck truncation.
Rev: PRINCEP IVVENTVT; SPES standing left with flower
RIC 1489 (R2); BMC 481 [VESPASIAN]; RSC 375a;RPC Online 1462 (This coin cited).
Yes, I know it has a hole. However, I still wanted it very much. One of the reasons is the mint. In RIC it states that this coin was struck at an unknown Eastern Asian mint. They add that it might be Ephesus. I admit that the portrait styles remind me of Ephesus. However, if it was Ephesus, then why put an 'O' under the neck truncation on these coins. Coins with this mintmark also exist for Vespasian and Titus. I have 2 for Vespasian and they are both posted on this blog. Unfortunately, I have been unable to add one for Titus so far.
These coins are rare and very unusual in terms of portrait style. they are therefore highly sought after. I had been looking for an Eastern mint denarius of Domitian for at least 3 years before I found this one. It is a bonus that it also happens to be from the mysterious 'O' mint.
How rare is this coin? As far as I am aware this coin is the third known of its type. 1 is privately owned and is in the owner's gallery on Forum Ancient Coins. There is another that is the British Museum example and also happens to be the RIC plate coin. Then there is this example. I hope you can see now why I wanted it regardless of the hole. The hole is unfortunate and for some would be a reason to lose interest in it. However, I think the type is fascinating and well worth acquiring regardless of the hole.
If you see a Domitian denarius from an eastern mint at an attractive price, do not hesitate. These are rare and interesting coins with portraits that vary widely from the normal Rome mint issues.