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Titus as Caesar AR Denarius 74 RIC 690 [Vespasian]

Titus as Caesar AR denarius 74 CE

Obv: Head laureate right; T CAESAR IMP VESP

Rev: COS III across field; 2 laurel trees upright

RIC 690 [VESP]; BMC * p. 28 Note, RSC 47

Ex: Salon Numizmatyczny Mateusz Wójcicki (27/02/2021) Lot 3136

Coin depicted in the Wildwinds.com database


Well this worn looking coin is rather deceiving. At first glance it does not seem very special at all. However, this coin is very rare and the reverse makes it quite unusual. First, I do not mind worn coins because they tell the story of past ownership. Coins like this make us wonder who handled them before and what was purchased with them. Also, when chasing rarities there are times when you buy what the market offers or do without. When this one popped up for sale in a European auction I realized I might not see another for several years.


I find the expressive portrait quite interesting. Titus looks very much like his father here. This happens quite regularly on the coins of Titus. There have been times where if the obverse legend was worn or obscured, it would be difficult to discern just whose portrait is on the coin.


The star of this coin is the reverse. The 2 laurel trees motif is copied from a denarius of Augustus. This reverse type also exists for Vespasian. While that one (RIC 681) is a rare coin it is not as rare as this one. Titus and Vespasian both used the reverse types from past emperors on their coins. The reason may have been propagandistic. The message was basically "Happy days are here again". Augustus was an extremely popular emperor for decades after his death. Reverse types of Augustus were reused for political purposes. Vespasian and Titus would have wanted the citizens to connect their reigns with that of Augustus.


I was thrilled to win this one and it shall have an important place in my collection.

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