Domitian AR Denarius 88-89 CE

May 8, 2020

Domitian (81-96). AR Denarius 88 CE September 14 - 89 CE- September 13 (sixth issue)

(18 mm 3.42 g)

Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P VIII. Laureate head right. 

Rev: IMP XXI COS XIIII CENS PPP. Minerva standing left, holding thunderbolt and spear; shield at her left side. 

RIC 676 RSC 256, BMC 160

Ex: Artemide aste auction 50e February 29-March 1 2020. Lot 339.

 

Yes, this is another Domitian denarius featuring Minerva on the reverse. It turns out that the dating combination as indicated by the imperial titles is quite rare. During this period of time Domitian was acquiring imperial titles very rapidly. RIC suggests that this was because of the many military campaigns Domitian engaged in. The imperial titles were recognition of the many successful campaigns. As a result some of the imperial titles were only struck on the denarii for a few days before the next title was added. For example, Domitian used IMP XVI XVII and XVIII between October 30 and December 11. All of these were rare because they were struck for very short periods of time. The combination on the coin above may have been struck for as few as 4 days.

 

I also bought this coin for the portrait. In my opinion the years 84-88 represent the best of the portraits of Domitian. I find that this portrait has much character. Most people would have ignored this coin. It is an easy rarity to overlook because it means that one must be familiar with the history of the acclamations. One should also get used to the fact that all of these titles on one coin tend to confuse those who try to read these coins. This leads to many misattributions. In fact about half of the denarii of Domitian I own were misattributed. This is a problem not just for the amateur dealer or seller. In fact, many large auction houses with numismatists on staff also have misattributed these coins. This is a case where the references in the field are indispensable. 

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