A Pleasant Surprise

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    My latest addition is a nice illustration of why it is important to have a coin in hand when there is a tricky attribution afoot.

    Æ As, 11.89g
    Rome mint, 80-81 AD
    RIC 233 (R3). BMC - .
    Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
    Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., with branch and cornucopiae
    Acquired from Praefectus Coins, December 2018.

    The various stock Pax types struck for Titus are general carry-overs from Vespasian's reign and are normally seen on Titus' sestertii and asses. This as features a rare variant of the standing Pax type. She is seen here holding a cornucopiae instead of the much more common variant with caduceus. This reverse type with AVGVST instead of AVGVSTI is also extremely rare - only one specimen was known when the new RIC II.1 was published.

    Judging from the seller's photo I assumed this to be the 'AVGVSTI' variant when I purchased it. After examining it in hand I realised that what I thought was an 'I' in the photo was actually a minor ding, making this coin the second example of the type with 'AVGVST'. Needless to say, a most pleasant surprise!

    Here is an image of the reverse I snapped with my phone.


    Feel free to post your 'surprises'!
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I think you're probably right but without finding a die match of a coin with a clear and on-flan reverse legend, can you really be certain?

    David Atherton likes this.
  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I went to ACsearch to see if I could find a die match. I found four entries for this Titus as. Two had on-flan reverse legends and both were AVGVST (no I). The other two were your coin! It was sold by Hirsch in 2007 and offered for sale again in 2016, also by Hirsch :).

    I didn't find any with the reverse legend of AVGVSTI.
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  5. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Wow! Thanks @TIF for the numismatic sleuthing! I had no idea about the Hirsch provenance.

    And thank you for clearly illustrating the issues involved in attributing this coin.
  6. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    Yowza! And this is why I love to follow the ancients threads, even though I don't have "dog or pony" in the show (none that I will admit to anyway). This is awesome! :happy::happy::cigar:
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  7. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Thanks to @TIF's help, I am able to provide a better photo of the piece.


    The colour is a bit off (needs to be more reddish), but you can clearly see there is no 'I' at the end of AVGVST.

    Also, Curtis Clay had something interesting to say about it on Forvm:

    'RIC 233 quotes your coin from the photofile of the Numismatic Institute in Vienna, unfortunately without reproducing the picture and without naming the location of the coin itself, presumably in an auction catalogue or a public or private collection. Maybe the Institute photo is of your actual specimen, published for example in an earlier G. Hirsch catalogue, or maybe it's from the same rev. and/or obv. die if it's a different specimen.'
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  8. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    An awesome find David, congrats! And great detective work by TIF and Curtis.
    David Atherton likes this.
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