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Domitian AR Denarius 81 CE (Group 4)

Domitian AR Denarius 81 CE (Group 4)

Obv: Laureate head of Domitian right; IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PM

Rev: Minerva standing left with victory and scepter at feet shield; TR P COS VII DES VIII PP

RIC 62, BMC 13, RSC 564

Though this coin is listed by RIC as common it is at the least a scarce coin. It is not an easy one to find if you are actively looking. It is a Group 4 denarius from 81 CE- Domitian's first year as Augustus. The obverse legend is on the most common of Domitian's first year denarii. What makes this coin scarce is the reverse. Yes, that is Minerva with a shield at her feet and Minerva is very common on Domitian denarii. In fact many collectors believe that the Minerva denarii are boring because they are so plenty. This Minerva is quite different from the 4 types that would go on to dominate the denarii of Domitian.

Take a look at the hand of Minerva. You will see Victory standing in Minerva's hand. This turns out to be a rare type. It is known for one aureus (RIC 61) and 6 types of denarii (RIC 29, 30, 60, 62, 63 and 99). Of these 6 only 1 is common (this coin RIC 62). Of the remaining types of denarii 1 is rare (RIC 99), 3 are R2 (RIC 30 60 and 63), and 1 is R3 (RIC 29). Of these I now have RIC 29, 62 and 99.

Besides rarity though this a very interesting type. One cannot help but ask what would have happened had this reverse had become one of the standard types. I guess those who care might be complaining about the scarcity of those rare Minerva with owl types. LOL



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