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Domitian AR Denarius

Domitian AR Denarius. Rome, AD 88. First Issue

3.25g, 19mm, 6h.

Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMAN PM TR P VII, laureate head right

Rev: IMP XIIII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva standing right with spear and shield.

RIC 573 (R2)

Ex: Roma Numismatics E-Sale 59 July 11, 2019 Lot 799

The reverse is a bit rough i'll admit but despite some uneven toning the obverse is extremely nice. Struck in 88 CE this portrait is an example of the quality of many of the portraits struck between 84-88 CE. The style went downhill after this in my opinion. As lovely as this portrait is this was not the reason I bought the coin. I bought the coin for the obverse legends. In general there was not much variation in the makeup of the legends during this period of Domitian denarii. This coin, however, is an exception. See if you can spot why this one is different. I ask because most people would miss it.

The answer is that the legend spells out GERMAN. In the vast majority of cases it is just GERM. This is very easy to miss. In fact one Flavian specialist informed me that he glanced right over it in the auction. Of course it did not help that the auction house missed it too! Of course they misattributed the coin. Flavian coins are often misattributed because of small almost unnoticeable differences between the coins. However, it is important to pay attention to the details because if you do you might just capture an excellent rarity that others have overlooked. Sometimes just another Domitian Minerva denarius is not just another Minerva denarius.


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