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Vespasian AR Denarius Ephesus 71 CE

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


This coin is one of 2 known examples. It is not in the current RIC (2007). I was thrilled to add this one to my collection. Yes, the rarity counts for me as I enjioy tracking down these elusive coins. However there are other reasons as well. First I just find myself staring at the portrait, it is amazing. Ephesian portraits are known to be quite stylish but this one is exceptional. I do not know if Vespasian would have liked this portrait but I do. The other factor is the reverse. There is just something very stylish about the simple AVG in a wreath. I love this design.


While this coin is unpublished in the current RIC, it will be published in the soon to be released RIC Addenda as RIC 1422AA. The AVG in wreath type is known for the following groups of Ephesian denarii: 1,2,3, 6,7,8 &9. My coin is a group 4 denarius which until this type was found was unknown. It makes me wonder if other AVG reverses will be found for other Ephesian groups.


If you are interested in owning one of these I must warn you that they are a very popular type. The competition for these in recent auctions can be quite formidable. This coin shows the value of opening the print references. Sure it was not in the current RIC, but owning the book allowed me to draw the conclusion that this type might be legitimate because the listed types showed me where a coin like this should fit into the pattern as discernible in RIC.


Another reason I love this coin is purely selfish and has nothing to do with coins-I love doing the research for these coins. I love spending several hours tracking down these rarities and finding out as much as I can. Yes, this is fun for me.

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