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Vespasian Obol 74-75 CE

Vespasian Æ Obol of Alexandria, Egypt. Dated RY 7 = AD 74/5.

Obv: [AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY], laureate head right

(21mm 4.47g, 12h.) Rev: Canopus right; L [Z] (date) in right field.

RPC 2446.1 (this coin); Dattari (Savio) 373 (this coin); Emmett 219. Extremely Rare; the only known example. This coin published in A. Savio, Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini (Trieste, 1999); This coin published in A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice, Roman Provincial Coinage, vol. II (London and Paris, 1999);

Ex: Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Sale 71, May 28 2020, Lot 710 Ex Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Sale 46, 5 June 2018, lot 406; Ex Naville Numismatics 28, 22 January 2017, lot 314; Ex Dattari Collection, formed in Egypt prior to 1901.




Now why on earth would I want this ugly coin? I love it because it has a great story. Not only has this coin been published in 2 important works, it was also part of the legendary Dattari collection. Ok, famous provenance and a plate coin in 2 publications but is it interesting for any other reason? Yes, it turns out this is the only known example of this type. However, there is yet another reason. It has a canopus on the reverse. So an extremely rare Alexandrian coin of Vespasian that has an Egyptian theme. Well those were more than enough reasons to buy this coin.


So is it ugly? Well I have seen nicer bronzes but I found the reverse to have loads of charm. I like having the previous provenance for the coin. To me it adds interest because it adds to the known story of this coin. I also like that it is documented in 2 respected publications.