2 denarii of Vespasian from Ephesus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orfew, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    The Spink auction was live earlier today. There were many very nice Domitian rarities from the Michael Kelly collection. unfortunately, I did not win any of those. However, I did win 2 coins from the Michael Kelly collection from the auction. Both are denarii of Vespasian from Ephesus.

    I really like the portraits from Ephesus. The second coin is in much better condition than the first one bit both have interesting portraits.

    Please post your coins from Ephesus.

    Vespasian (69-79), AR Denarii, Ephesus (2), laureate head right, rev. Ceres seated left on throne, holding grain ears, poppy and cornucopia, 3.05g (RIC 1400); as last, but with EPHE in exergue, 3.12g (RIC 1428), both scarce, the first almost very fine, the second a pleasing very fine (2)
    Roman Silver Coins from the Michael Kelly Collection
    20120 - Spink Numismatic e-Circular 1 - Part I - Ancient Coins featuring the Michael Kelly and Nomos Brasiliana Collections Lot 214. February 13 2020.

    Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 1.35.32 PM.png
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  3. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Congrats Andrew, I love the eastern portraits for the Flavians
    Orfew likes this.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great additions, I like the right one best too.
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  5. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Andrew, those are both lovely coins. The worn RIC 1400 on the left is my favourite - it's rarer and in better style than the other coin. Proof that superior condition isn't always better.

    And speaking of style, this is one of my favourite Ephesians in my collection.

    V1424.jpg Vespasian
    AR Denarius, 3.32g
    Ephesus mint, 71 AD
    Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
    Rev: LIBERI IMP AVG VESPAS; Titus and Domitian veiled, togate, stg. front (heads l.), each with patera; below, BY mint mark
    RIC 1424 (R3). BMC -. RSC -. RPC 827 (1 spec.). BNC -.
    Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.
  6. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Very nice. Congrats!
    I can’t show a Vespasian coin struck in Ephesus, unfortunately. I have one quite similar in style though, from Philippi, just a weeks ancient travel away:


    Vespasian (69-79). Denarius, Philippi. 70-71 AD. Obv. IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P PP. Laureate head right. Rev. PACI AVGVSTAE. Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm; to left, ΦI in monogram. RIC 323. AG. g. 3.12 mm. R.
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  7. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Your coin is indeed from Ephesus, or at least the same Eastern mint that produced the whole series. Older scholarship attributed the different mint marks to various cities, but die matches between the mint marks prove they are all from the same mint.

    Rejoice! You have an Ephesian!
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  8. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Ah, I have an Ephesian! Thank you for the update:)
    Actually, I have always been thinking «Ephesus» when I’ve looked at it. It’s so definitely the same style as other coins attributed to that city.
  9. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Love the portrait of the right side coin @Orfew
    Orfew likes this.
  10. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Laureate head of Vespasian right

    Victory advancing left holding wreath and palm, tilted Φ before her right foot.

    Ephesus mint

    69/70 AD


    RIC 1406 (R ). BMCRE 435. RPC 812 (8 specimens cited).

    Released from an NGC slab. Graded as a fouree but shows no signs of plating. This is an official coin! Score!
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  11. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice coins. My favorite is the one with a lot of mileage. Forgive me for my ignorance, but who's Michael Kelly? Is he the same guy well known in the guitar's world?
  12. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Both are very nice Andrew! I like these Ephesian Denarii, for the expressive style. I hope to get one of them in the coming period.
    And as for the rare Domitians, hopefully you will have more success in one of the upcoming auctions.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
    Orfew likes this.
  13. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    I fully apologize if this question is odd. But this is a genuine question: why would you buy two examples of essentially the same coin? the second is obviously a much nicer example and with the added bonus of a very clear mintmark.
    That - for me would be the best decision.
    Was this an auction where these coins went lower than you expected and you were very happy to grab both?

    From Mr. Atherton's comment - it seems I am missing something important. I would like to understand what I am missing..
  14. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    Great coins Orfew
    Vespasian AR Denarius (2.77g, 18mm, 6h). Ephesus, AD 71. IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P, laureate head right / Oak wreath surrounding AVG and monogram. RIC 1422AA
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  15. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Congrats on the win. I like the coin on the right very much, especially the reverse. I didn't participate in the auction, but my sole Flavian from Ephesus is an ex Michael Kelly as well.

    Vespasian - Den Pax Ephesus 2988.jpg VESPASIAN
    AR Denarius. AR Denarius. 2.94g, 18.5mm. Ephesus mint, AD 69-70. RIC 316; RSC 280. O: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG, laureate head right. R: PACI AVGVSTAE, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm; Φ (mintmark) below.
    Ex Michael Kelly Collection

    I don't know if he's the same guy, but in a catalogue of the sale of some of his coins, Spink refers to him as the "late Michael Kelly". I think he could be the Michael Kelly who was a longtime coin dealer and organiser of the Dublin Coin Fair.
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  16. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Orfew ....Great pick ups!...Lovely looking coins....Interesting the difference in the size of the obverse portrait...
    Orfew likes this.
  17. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter


    As I browsed the lots I wondered if you would bid on that lot-- great portraits, especially the second coin!
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  18. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    I understand that this might be confusing to those who do not specialize in Flavian coins. First, these 2 coins were sold as a group lot. I was not given the choice between them. Even if they had been separate lots I probably would have bid on both anyway.

    I agree with David that the first coin has the most interesting portrait. I would have bought that coin for that alone because I love the Ephesian portraits. In my opinion these portraits are some of the best for Vespasian ever struck.

    These are not the same coins. Not only does the portrait style and size differ but the obverse legends are different as well. In addition though the reverses are the same these coins were struck years apart. The first one was struck very early for Vespasian as Augustus in 69-70, while the one on the right was struck 7-8 years later!

    The portraits changed often and sometimes radically from issue to issue. I have a number of these Ephesian denarii and not one of the portraits looks like any other I have. However, there is also no way to mistake these coins as being struck anywhere but Ephesus as the style of the portraits is unique to that mint.

    While the first coin has an interesting mint mark for Ephesus, the second coin actually has an abbreviated for of the city name on the coin as a mintmark. On the reverse you can see EPHE. I did not have a denarius from Ephesus with this mint mark. I am happy to have one now. Usually with these coins I only collect the denarii rated R, R2, or R3. The coins with EPHE seem to be more common than those that have either no mintmark or the other types of mintmarks associated with the coins of Ephesus. However I also bought it for the excellent portrait.

    I can see that to some these coins may appear almost identical. I hope however that I have demonstrated that to me at least they are very different coins.

    I hope this addresses your questions. If not, please feel free to ask any other questions you may have.

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  19. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Much appreciated - this is more clear to me now. Thank you for the response.
    Orfew likes this.
  20. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Michael Kelly came and went more than once. When he dropped out of the hobby in 1997, the Spink catalog for his collection (sale 123) is what I believe is a 'must have' reference. I bought 9 lots (17 coins) and have no intention of selling any of them while I live. His collection then included many coins that were not Eastern denarii but he had enough of them to make the sale very appealing. That sale had no Flavian Eastern coins but fit my Severan interests perfectly. I assume his second appearance in the hobby explains the Flavians. Does anyone have that catalog reference?

    I would love to know why the one mint used three or more marks. Perhaps it was a mobile operation which transferred older obverse dies when moved? I have no Flavian Kelly but do have this beat up Domitian EPE from CNG in 1994. Their photo did not show all the marks. This points to a difference between then and now with our enlarged images that show everything.
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  21. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Great coins, I like the Ceres reverse.
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