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Domitian AR Denarius 95/96 CE RIC 791

Domitian AR Denarius

Denar 95/96 n. Chr., Rome

(3.31 g)

Obv: Kopf mit Lorbeerkranz n. r. ; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV. Rev: Geflügelte Minerva n. l. mit Speer und Schild; IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P. Geflügelte Minerva n. l. mit Speer und Schild.

Provenienz: Aus einer niederrheinischen Privatsammlung.

RIC 791, BMC 237, RSC 294.

Purchased from Korblum on Ma-Shops on March 24, 2021

There were only 2 more groups of denarii struck after the group in which this coin appears. It was struck mere months before the assassination of Domitian. However, though that is a good enough reason, that is not why I bought it. It was also not because of the rather ham-fisted ugly portrait of Domitian-though this is interesting too. No the star of this denarius is the reverse. Though it is worn the best features are still recognizable. Anyone who is the least bit acquainted with the the denarii knows that they are dominated by Minerva. More specifically they are dominated by the four standard types of Minerva reverses. These include; Minerva advancing, Minerva with owl, Minerva with thunderbolt, and Minerva standing with spear. Take a look at this reverse. This one is not one of the four standard types. It is instead Minerva Victrix, or victorious Minerva. I think the most interesting feature of this Minerva is that she clearly has wings. While this coin is not rare it could be called scarce. When they do appear they are snapped up very quickly. This is partially due to the fact that the Minerva type is different and adds variety to the series. It is also because this reverse simply makes the coins attractive and interesting.

While I am not one of those who finds the Minerva denarii dull, I understand why some do. The scholarship on these coins is still evolving. For example, there are very few papers or articles on the denarii of Domitian that feature Minerva. I think this is possibly because the variants are so rare. in some cases these are known for between 1-5 examples known. With such a small sample size to study it is no wonder these coins are not getting the scholarly attention they deserve. I find the rare variants of the Minerva types interesting and quite elusive to locate.


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