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Vespasian AR Denarius 71 CE RIC 1422AA(unpublished)

Vespasian, 69-79. Denarius Ephesus, 71

(17 mm, 2.65 g 7h)

Obv: Laureate head of Vespasian to right; IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P

Rev: Φ within wreath. AVG

RIC 1422AA (not in current RIC)

Ex: Leu Numismatik Web Auction 13 Lot 1139 August 16, 2020

Coin depicted on the database

I know of 3 of these including mine. It is possible that a few more will emerge. However, extreme rarity is not the only interesting feature of this coin. The portrait is incredible. This is the best Ephesian portrait I possess. It is also one of the best I have ever seen. I much prefer these expressive portraits of Ephesus over the style of Rome. There are some great Roman portraits of Vespasian but I still prefer those of Ephesus.

I find this reverse very attractive and aesthetically pleasing. It is a relatively simple reverse with only a few main elements. The wreath on this one is lovely, but it is hard to ignore that large bold "AVG" in the centre of the coin. It leaves no doubt the position of the issuer of this coin.

The "AVG" in wreath reverse type occurs only seldom on the coins of Vespasian and then only on the coins of Ephesus. Too bad, I would have loved to have seen this reverse with some Roman portraits of Vespasian. The AVG types are scarce to extremely rare. This coin is the latter. I know of 2 examples and this coin is one of them. It is so rare that the authors of RIC (2007) did not cite even one example. This coin is not in RIC. In fact, it is unpublished in all the major references. This coin type will be published in the upcoming RIC addendum as RIC 1422AA.


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