Titus AR Denarius 80 CE RIC 116
Ttitus AR denarius 80 CE
Obv: Head Laureate left; IMP TITUS CAES VESPASIAN AVG PM
Rev: Elephant standing left; TR P IX IMP XV COS VIII PP
RIC 116; BMC 47; RSC 304
Purchased from CGB February 10 2021
I usually do not buy coins that look like this. When I do they are very rare or have some other attribute I am looking for.This is not the case with this coin. Yes, it is true that the left facing bust on this type is scarcer tha the right facing type neither can be called rare. I wanted this coin for the same reason that many would want it-the elephant on the reverse. On its own the elephant is interesting, however it is also symbolic of an historical event.
Vespasian was responsible for beginning the work on the Flavian amphitheatre. When he died it was incomplete. Titus carried on this work and it was completed under his rule It is said that when it opened there were a great number of exotic creatures brought to the colosseum and this included elephants. As the showstopper so to speak the elephant was representative of the opening of the coliseum.
In some cases, left facing portraits for Titus are very rare. This does not apply in this case. However, I would still recommend that one should check the references carefully when you see a left facing portrait of Titus on a denarius. Myself, I would love to add the right facing version of this as well, but I am in no hurry.