A Disguised Dupondius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    I came across this fairly rare Domitian as Caesar dupondius a couple of weeks ago and couldn't resist it. Despite the wear it has fantastic eye appeal. And yes, it is indeed a dupondius despite having a laureate bust.


    Domitian as Caesar
    Æ Dupondius, 14.29g
    Rome mint, 77-78 AD (Vespasian)
    Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIAN COS V; Bust of Domitian, laureate, draped, r.
    Rev: CERES AVGVST; S C in field; Ceres stg. l., with corn ears and poppy and sceptre
    RIC 1044 (R). BMC p. 176 ‡. BNC 790.
    Acquired from ANE, November 2019.

    Dupondii struck for Domitian as Caesar under Vespasian lack a radiate crown and are unusually laureate and quite rare. This Ceres type struck in 77 or 78 was part of series of coins likely advertising some sort of agricultural programme. Same dies as the Paris specimen (BNC 790).

    Post your unusual bust types!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
    eparch, Curtisimo, chrsmat71 and 13 others like this.
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    David, that is a beauty! i do not collect bronze but I would have found that one hard to resist. A great addition to your collection.

    He is an unusual bust type for Domitian's father. Not only is it left facing, but it is bare headed as well.

    Vespasian ric 773.jpg
  4. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Numismatic Enthusiast

    Agricultural program?

    Roman Citizen- "hey look at this coin, it says free government-subsidized cabbage!!! Woot Woot! "
    David Atherton likes this.
  5. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    I found this coin in a batch of uncleaned ancients. I sold it several years ago, so I no longer have the size and weight information, but it's an antoninianus of Gallienus. RIC did not give this coin a separate listing but rather grouped it with all coins with similar reverses:
    Billon antoninianus
    Mediolanum mint
    Obv: GALLIENVS AVG - Radiate, helmeted, cuirassed bust left, holding spear and shield.
    Rev:MARTI P-ACIF - Mars, standing, facing left, holding olive branch in right hand and spear and shield in left.
    RIC 492

    To give you some idea of how unusual this obverse portrait is for Gallienus, I listed it on eBay with an opening bid of $.99, and it ended up selling for over $200.
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Neat coin, @David Atherton ! I think it's interesting how the draped bust -- not a radiate head -- may indicate the dupondius denomination.

    As for unusual bust-types, this cuirassed bust is very rare for this issue of Commodus. The only other example online is in the British Museum collection:

    Commodus Liberalitas denarius.jpg
    Commodus, AD 177-192.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.42 g, 18 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, AD 180.
    Obv: M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: LIB AVG TR P V IMP IIII COS II P P, Liberalitas standing left, holding tessera and cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC 10a; Cohen 301; BMC 4.
  7. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    That coin just begs to be held :). I love big evenly worn bronzes!
  8. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Admittedly, it's just speculation. The rustic and agricultural types that dominate the coinage at the time need a better explanation.
    Curtisimo likes this.
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