A once in a lifetime denarius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orfew, Aug 5, 2021.

  1. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    This coin ably demonstrates why it is important to do your own attributions. As with the majority of my coins, this one was misattributed. In this case, the coin was misattributed as a very common coin which it certainly is not.

    In this series, many of the coins are quite common. What you see below is a mule. This coin should have a reverse with COS VIII in the exergue. This coin has COS VI. So, we have a Vespasian obverse and a Titus reverse. During this period Titus was COS VI.

    So this coin is already a fascinating curiosity. What could make it even more interesting? In a word-rarity. This coin is the second one known. The first known is owned by @David Atherton. His coin is the RIC reference coin.

    I had seen David's coin before and admired it. I never thought I would have the chance to have one myself.

    Please post your interesting rarities or curiosities.

    Vespasian AR Denarius 77-78 CE
    (18mm 3.17g)
    Obv: Head laureate left; IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG
    Rev: COS VI in exergue; Oxen 2 yoked
    Purchased from C J Martin coins on Vcoins.
    Titus ric 945 V.jpg
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Handsome coin & great addition to your Flavians.
    ambr0zie and Orfew like this.
  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Nice score :happy:!
    ambr0zie, Orfew and Insider like this.
  5. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    The OP shows how knowledge pays off in the end. What a great purchase!

    Now, I am making absolutely no comment about the authenticity of the two known examples of the OP's coin. I did have this thought to pass on. We all know that "mules" exist. In the US field some are very expensive. Also in the US field there are many cases where a careless counterfeiter made coins that do not exist causing his work to eventually be discovered. Henning nickels and Micro "O" (New Orleans Mint) dollars are two great examples of this type of mistake.
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

  7. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Very nice!

    With the average mint worker being probably at best only poorly literate and coinage being produced for one Augustus and two Caesars, it's surprising that there aren't more mules from Vespasian's reign.

    I picked this one up from a Roma mixed lot that I recognized as a mule - Titus as Caesar with his father's PONTIF MAXIM reverse. Rare, but nowhere near "second known" rare! Been meaning to make a thread for it but keep forgetting.
    Titus as Caesar AR denarius PONTIF MAXIM vespasian mule.jpg
  8. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Congratulations @Orfew for the interesting mule!
    I can only show my common variety of this coin - nothing spectacular but I was glad I could add another denarius in my collection without the classic someone standing or seated reverses.


    Vespasian (69-79) AR Denarius, Rome, 77-78
    IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG - Laureate head right
    Rev: Pair of oxen under yoke left, In exergue, COS VIII.
    C 133. BMC 206. RIC 943. CBN 184
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    @Orfew , congrats on the fantastic find! Beautiful coin. Wow.

    I really enjoy those oxen! Really nice.
  10. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks very much Brian. Your kind comments are appreciated.
    Alegandron likes this.
  11. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks for posting that one. It is a very nice coin. I have one of those as well because I find the mules interesting.
  12. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Nice! I do not have that one but I am going to find one for myself. Thanks for posting that coin.
    ambr0zie likes this.
  13. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks @Mat Your kind words are always welcome.
  14. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    You won't have issues, this is not rare (I'm sure you know this). However, I still like it.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  15. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    I am 3 coins away
    From having all the denarii from this issue.They are all common so hopefully I will be able to find them quickly

    I think your coin
    Is great. What a reverse.
    Theodosius and ambr0zie like this.
  16. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Haha, thanks. And I hope you will find a nicer example at a good price (you should).
    Coming from a Flavian specialist, your words are flattering, but I can't say this coin will win any beauty contests. None of my 6 Vespasian coins would. But, again, this is not a turn off for me, as long as the coin can be attributed without doubt. Seeing (and holding) an 1943 years old coin is still something I wouldn't have dreamed 1 year ago.
    To be somehow on topic - another coin that will not win any beauty contest, not a rarity especially in this grade but not extremely common:

    Domitian (Caesar, 69-81) AR Denarius, Rome, 77-78
    CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS - laureate head right
    Rev: [COS V] - Soldier on horseback rearing right, raising right hand.
    RIC 957 (Vespasian); C 49a

    Too bad the portrait is the way it is and the COS V on the reverse is gone, but I did not refuse a Domitian as Caesar denarius at a low price.
  17. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    A great find for sure, and of better style

    Orfew likes this.
  18. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    I like that 957. It has a lot of character. I have plenty of coins in ef condition but o don’t like them any more than my worn examples. A worn coin is important because it carries with it the histories of the previous owners. When I hold a worn coin it reminds me of the fragility of life. I often think about the previous owners and wonder who they were. What were their aspirations? Whom did they love or anger? We are only temporary custodians of these pieces of history, and we are privileged to be so. I don’t think your worn coins are any less important than the ef examples out there. In fact they may be more important
    ambr0zie likes this.
  19. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    A most incredible find Andrew! I suppose it was only a matter of time before a coin from the same mismatched die pair as mine turned up.

    Here is the unadulterated version.

    AR Denarius, 3.30g
    Rome Mint, 77-78 AD
    Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
    Rev: COS VIII in ex.; Pair of Oxen, under yoke, l.
    RIC 944 (C). BMC 209. RSC 134a. BNC 185.
    Acquired from Akropolis Coins, August 2007.

    And the mule.

    V945.jpg Vespasian
    AR Denarius, 3.22g
    Rome Mint, 77-78 AD
    Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
    Rev: COS VI in ex.; Pair of Oxen, under yoke, l.
    RIC 945 (R3, this coin). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
    Acquired from Celeste Jones Mining, April 2017. Ex CGB Monnaies 21, 18 June 2004, lot 2387. Formerly in NGC holder 4278700-005, grade 'VF', strike 5/5, surface 3/5.
    Cucumbor, ambr0zie, Curtisimo and 6 others like this.
  20. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks, @David Atherton I was very surprised to find this one. As you might imagine, I bought it soon after I saw it. I checked your forum gallery to make sure that my suspicions were accurate.

    There are 9 denarii in this issue. I have 6 of them. The rest should not be too difficult. I was not intentionally trying to collect every denarius in this issue, but now that I have 6/9...

    I have 937,938,939,940,942, and now 945. I am missing 941, 943 and 944.
    David Atherton likes this.
  21. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    A fantastic find Andrew, wish I had seen it first! :)

    Here is one of my Flavian mules
    RIC 0554 (V) Titus
    Laureate bust right

    Vespasian seated right on curule chair, with sceptre and branch

    Rome, 73 AD

    RIC 554 (R) (Vespasian) A mule with reverse type of Vespasian


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