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Domitian AR Denarius 85 CE (Fourth Issue)

Domitian AR Denarius 85 CE (fourth Issue)

(20.00 mm 3.35 g)

Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG – GERM P M TR P IIII, laureate head right, wearing aegis

Rev: IMP VIIII COS XI – CENS POT P P Minerva standing left, holding spear in right hand

Ref.: RIC II 339 (R2), RSC 180a, BMC 80

Ex: Michael Kelly Collection

Ex: Spink numismatic e-circular 1 Part 1 Ancient Coins Auction 20120 Lot 228 (part). February 13, 2020.

Purchased from Germania Inferior Numismatics on Vcoins February 22, 2020.


The amazing portrait on this coin shows just what the engravers working in 85 CE were capable of. Some of the best portraits for Domitian were struck between the years 84-88 CE. This sympathetic portrait shows that coins can be high art. Unfortunately for those who may want a denarius from the fourth issue of 85 CE, all the coins in this issue are very rare to extremely rare. This coin is even rarer than most coins of this issue because there is an Aegis on the bust of the portrait. All Domitian denarii that feature Aegis are again, very rare to extremely rare. I know a fellow collector who has been searching for any Domitian denarius from 85 CE for at least 2 years with no luck so far.


This coin is also interesting because it was once part of Michael Kelly's collection. I like knowing the provenance of my coins. To me it adds to the story of the coin. As for the reverse, yes it is a Minerva reverse (M4). However, the reverse is still interesting because of the legend. I actively pursue any Domitian denarii with the CENS POT legend. Of course it does not hurt that this coin is in lovely condition.


So if you would like one of these, be prepared to jump on it when you see it. I know several Domitian collectors who would gleefully snap it up before you you would have a chance at it.