My first Flavian Sestertius

Orichalcum sestertius, Rome mint, weight (34.6mm, 24.300g, die axis 180o),

Struck under Titus, 80 - 81 A.D.;

Obverse DIVO / AVG / VESPAS in three lines, S P Q R (Senatus Populusque Romanus - the Senate and the Roman people) in exergue, statue of Vespasian seated in an ornate quadriga of elephants right, each elephant with its own mahout, statue holds a scepter in right hand, Victory in left hand;

Rev: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII, legend around large S C (Senatus Consulto);

RIC 258; BMCRE II 223.

Ex Numismatik Naumann auction 88 (5 Apr 2020), lot 1088 (part of); rare;

Purchased from Forum Ancient coins June 5, 2021


This coin features a statue of Vespasian in a quadriga of elephants. This is a divus type. That is, it was struck by Titus to commemorate the deification of Vespasian. However interesting this may be, the obvious feature commanding attention is the quadriga of Elephants. Elephant appeared on many different Roman coin over hundreds of years.


As is normal with Flavian coins, this coin was misattributed. In hand it is quite easy to see VESPAS on the obverse of the coin. That means that this coin must be RIC 258 instead of RIC 257. I was very lucky to be the one to buy this coin because it is a very sought after type. I mean, really, who does not like elephants on a Roman coin?