A second chance denarius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orfew, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    I reported last week that I had missed out on a lot I was bidding on in the last Spink auction. They had many rare coins for Domitian from the Michael Kelly collection. @David Atherton gave me the heads up earlier that some rare Domitian denarii had been posted on Vcoins. I saw the following coin and grabbed it immediately. It is a rare coin of Domitian with the CENS POT reverse. I have a few of these and I am always looking for more. I might see 1-2 per year with this reverse. In addition the portrait is rare as well because it has the Aegis. I also noticed that the portrait is really attractive. It is a very sympathetic portrait of Domitian. The denarii of 84-88 have some of the best portraits of Domitian. The denarii of 85 are very scarce indeed.

    I thought that it was quite suspicious that a D339 would show up just 9 days after the Spink sale. I checked the auction records and sure enough my coin was part of Lot 228. Lot 228 was a lot I had bid on and lost in the Spink sale! As a result I discovered that my coin was part of the Michael Kelly collection.

    I was thrilled to get a second chance at this coin. Please post coins you bought because of a second chance opportunity.

    Domitian AR Denarius 85 CE (fourth Issue)
    (20.00 mm 3.35 g)
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG – GERM P M TR P IIII, laureate head right, wearing aegis
    Rev: IMP VIIII COS XI – CENS POT P P Minerva standing left, holding spear in right hand
    Ref.: RIC II 339 (R2), RSC 180a
    Ex: Michael Kelly Collection
    Ex: Spink numismatic e-circular 1 Part 1 Ancient Coins Auction 20120 Lot 228 (part). February 13, 2020.
    Purchased from Germania Inferior Numismatics on Vcoins February 22, 2020.

    Domitian ric 339 GIN.jpg
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  3. dadams

    dadams Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin and I’m glad you got a second chance at it!
    Orfew likes this.
  4. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Great scoop!

    Here's one of mine from 85
    RIC 0338 Domitian denarius
    Laureate bust right

    Minerva standing left with spear

    Rome; 85 AD


    RIC 338 (R2)

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Very nice @Orfew. Here is one of mine struck a few years later in his reign: Domitian 3.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head right
    REVERSE: IMP XIX COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva standing left holding spear
    Struck at Rome, 88-89 AD
    3.3g, 19mm
    RIC 670
  6. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Jay, that is a beauty! Our coins have the same Minerva type as well. What separates them is the use of Aegis on mine.
    Jay GT4 likes this.
  7. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    @Bing that is very nice. I love the expressive portrait.
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  8. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    The Aegis of course is the grail for this series.
    Orfew likes this.
  9. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Fantastic addition Andrew! Also nice that you got a second chance.
    I love these 85s as we have already discussed. I think 84-85 have the best portraits for Domitian, Although 86-89 often have also beautiful portraits.
    Do you already have an 84? They seem impossible to find.
    Orfew likes this.
  10. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

  11. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I'm glad you were finally able to acquire that piece Andrew!

    And, I think it's a bit better than my own specimen.

    D339a.jpg Domitian
    AR Denarius, 2.82g
    Rome mint, 85 AD
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
    Rev: IMP•VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P; Minverva stg. l., with spear (M4)
    RIC 339 (R2). BMC 80. RSC 180a. BNC 83.
    Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, October 2015. Ex Jyrki Muona Collection.
    Volodya, dlhill132, Spaniard and 8 others like this.
  12. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    They are very tough but not impossible. There were 2 in the last Spink auction, a 184 and a 189. I missed both of them unfortunately. I still do not have a denarius from this year of issue.
    Parthicus Maximus likes this.
  13. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks David, I like your example as well. I wondered who had the Dr Muona coin. Now I know!
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  14. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I have several denarii from 84, and indeed they are scarce and quite pricey. If you want a more economical alternative, try seeking out a middle bronze from 84. They are produced in a similar fine style as the denarii.

    Æ As, 10.23g
    Rome mint, 84 AD
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM COS X; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
    Rev: MONETA AVGVST; S C in field; Moneta stg. l., with scales and cornucopiae
    RIC 221 (C2). BMC 288. BNC 304.
    Acquired from Marti Classical Numismatics, September 2018.
  15. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Orfew .....Nice coin with a lovely portrait...
    Here's mine, as you know, struck a few years before..
    Domitian. 81-96 AR Denarius (3.17 gm, 18mm). Rome mint. Struck 81 AD.
    Obv.: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right.
    Rev.: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P, tripod surmounted by a dolphin right. RIC II 74.
  16. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks @Spaniard for posting that RIC 74. I really like these early portraits. It so happens that this is one I do not have. I have RIC 72, RIC 73, and RIC 75.
  17. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Thanks for highlighting that some coins have appeared for sale again. I picked up a denarius from Germania Inferior Numismatics too. It was the only coin which I wanted in a group lot (that I bid on and lost), so it worked out well for me.
    Jay GT4, David Atherton and Orfew like this.
  18. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Wonderful coins - great additions.

    I wonder why a seat (or I guess, throne?) as a reverse was chosen?
    Do the symbols (lightning bolt, crescent, etc) have a specific meaning (they must!)?
    I assume to promote the power and influence of the Emperor...(That would be my guess) .. but I wonder if there is more to it that the populace could easily decipher ?

    Any thoughts or articles on this? Please post!
  19. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    The pulvinaria are the couches or seats of the gods. Here is a couple of points regarding these coins.

    “[They] are a new type to the Roman series, and termed pulvinaria, or sacred couches of the gods. While Mattingly attributed these to the eruption of Vesuvius, recent scholarship tends to place these commemorating the opening of the Colosseum, at which there may have been seats for honored guests.”


    “In the following year there are a number of common denarii, all with new reverse types. The coins portray on their obverses either Titus or Domitian Caesar, and most belong to a group which Mattingly and Sydenham described as “‘supplicatio” coins showing [on their reverses] the exhibition of the emblems of the gods on “pulvinaria”’.’ Mattingly assumed that the coins commemorated a recent ceremony of supplication following a disaster - the eruption of Vesuvius. The series was to be repeated at the start of Domitian’s reign, possibly to commemorate another service of supplication following the great fire of 80. The only ‘common’ denarius of 80 not apparently belonging to the ‘supplicatio’ series depicts an elephant, which is assumed to relate to the famous games marking the inauguration of the Colosseum in that year.”

    Carradice, I , Towards a new introduction of the Flavian coinage.
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