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Vespasian AR Denarius 77-78 CE

Vespasian AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 77-78 CE

(18.2mm 2.92g)

Obv: Laureate head left. CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG

Rev: ANNONA AVG; Anonna seated left with sack of corn ears.

RIC: 966

Purchased from Lazooro on Delcampe April 20, 2020.

While not excessively rare this issue is interesting because of the left facing portrait. On the reverse, Annona represents the grain supply. One could imagine that the population of Rome would get quite grumpy if they were not fed. If the food supply ran low the one they would blame would be the emperor.

Therefore one will see many instances where emperors invoke Annona. They are signalling that they know how important it is to maintain the food supply.

In general, the left facing busts on denarii are rarer than the right facing busts. There are exceptions however. Some left facing busts for Vespasian are quite common. In the case of his son Titus, there are a few instances where the left facing busts on denarii are quite common. However, there are other instances when these busts are rare to extremely rare. In the case of Domitian, all of the left facing busts on denarii are rare to extremely rare. This is not the case for the bronze coinage of Domitian. The reasons for the paucity of the left facing busts is not known.

I really like the portrait on this coin. It has the look that some refer to as the straining or constipated portrait.

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