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Divus Vespasian AR Denarius 80-81 CE

Divus Vespasian, AR Denarius. Rome, under Titus, 80-81.

(17.5 mm, 3.24 g, 4 h),

Obv: Laureate head of Divus Vespasian to right; DIVVS VESPASIANVS [AVGVSTVS]

Rev: Slow quadriga to right, with car in form of small temple; EX S C

RIC 362 (R2); BMC 117; RSC 147; Hendin 1585a

Ex: Nomos Obolos Auction 16 Lot 1127 Sunday October 11, 2020

Coin depicted on Wildwinds database

At first glance this one looks like a very common coin. This coin was struck under Titus to commemorate his father Vespasian. It is also from a series of dives Vespasian coins struck under Titus. Most of these issues are extremely common. However, that does not mean they are not interesting. I have often thought of assembling a sub set of these. Now I have hinted at the rarity of this coin a couple of times but what makes this one rare? Take a look at the reverse. It features a slow quadriga heading right.The left heading quadriga denarius is very common but this version is very rare. This is the first one I have seen for sale in 5 years. Needless to say I bid fiercely for this one and there was a fair amount of competition for it.

As for condition, it has some good honest wear. The wear is to the high points as expected. Having said that, I do like the portrait of the god Vespasian. It has a nice grumpy look to it.I like the reverse as well as all of the important features are on flan. It does not hurt that the EX SC is clearly and boldly visible in the exergue.

If you are looking for one of these, search the inventory of sellers who may have mistaken this type for the common type. Most of the Flavian coins I have added to my collection have been misattriabuted. You might think that a difference such as the direction of the quagdriga could not be overlooked, but the truth is that larger differences get overlooked when people attribute these coins quite often. It pays to pay close attention.

This is probably a coin that only a Flavian specialist would love. After all who would care about the direction of a quadriga on the reverse of a coin. Right?


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