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Domitian AR Denarius 85 CE

Domitian AR denarius 85 CE

(19mm, 3.50 grams)

Obv: Head laureate right with Aegis; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P IIII

Rev: Minerva standing right on capital of rostral column with spear and shield to right owl; IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P

RIC: 334 (R2)

Ex Dr V.J.A Flynn collection, Noble Numismatics Auction 120 Lot 3222 (part)


Now this coin has lots going for it. First, take a look at that portrait. 84-88 CE portraits of Domitian on denarii are known to be exceptional. If you look through any other blog posts I believe you will see the work of this engraver on another coin of mine. There is something special about this portrait as well. You will see the Aegis near the neck truncation. The Aegis appeared only rarely on the denarii of Domitian. The coins of this issue with no Aegis are also very rare. As for the reverse, I think the owl is rendered particularly well. In addition the reverse features the rare CENS POT legend.


I also want to call attention to a seller who went the extra mile for me regarding this coin. I found this coin for sale by a seller in another part of the world. When I told him that I wanted to purchase the coin, he apologized and said that he would not ship to me because of postal problems caused by the pandemic. I told him that I understood and I also informed him that his attribution was incorrect and that the coin was far rarer than he knew. I thought this was the end of it but I heard from him shortly after and he told me that since I was so passionate about these coins that he would work with me so I could own the coin. I was absolutely thrilled to hear this. Many thanks to him for getting me this coin so that I can call it part of my collection.


This coin is a true treasure for any collector of Domitian's denarii. These do not appear very often in trade and when they do there is usually quite stiff competition for them. The denarii of 85 CE for Domitian are all scarce to extremely rare. If you see one, particularly one with a portrait of this engraver, grab it as fast as you can because it will not be available for long.