A very rare coin of Titus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orfew, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Now here is one I never thought I would get a chance to own. I only know of a few others one is in the Paris Museum and one is in the collection of our own @David Atherton. BMCRE references the Paris example. So I am guessing there are no examples in the British Museum either. There are 0 examples on OCRE and there are 4 on Acsearch. Maybe David could clear something up for me if he knows. Of the four on Acsearch 2 are from the collection of Harry Sneh. On his Forum page for his example he also cites from the collection of Harry Sneh. As unlikely as it seems I guess he must have owned 3 examples of this very rare coin. None of the 2 ex Sneh coins are David's coin.

    I had never heard of this auction house so I did not know what to expect. When the auction ended I checked the hammer price on the auction site I bought I had lost because the hammer price was more than my high bid. The thing is while I thought I was bidding was in Euro I guess the auction house converted this to Polish Zloty or PLN. The exchange rate was different on the date when I placed my bid from the auction than the ending early this morning.

    Wow that is the first time that has happened. I had just accepted the fact I had lost the coin when the email arrived. LOL

    So after all of that I am assuming that my coin is the 7th known example.

    This type was also struck for Vespasian, and while it is also rare, it is nowhere near as rare as the Titus.

    I have commented in earlier posts that Vespasian often struck coins that were throwbacks to the reign of Augustus. The speculation is that Vespasian was doing this as a way of saying happy days are here again. This reverse served a propagandistic purpose for the rule of Vespasian. It is also true that Augustus remained extremely popular for decades after his death and that Vespasian may have trying to use this popularity for his own purposes. This coin references a denarius for Augustus that also uses the Laurel trees.

    Please post the coins you never thought you would have a chance to own.

    The first coin is my Vespasian

    V 681 2 2.jpg

    Vespasian (69-79). AR Denarius Rome. 74 CE
    (18mm 3.07g)
    Obv: Laureate head right; IMP CAES VESP AVG
    Rev: COS V; 2 upright laurel trees.
    RIC 681, BMC 133, RSC 110
    Savoca 31st Blue Auction April 26, 2020. Lot 952

    And here is the Titus

    Titus as Caesar AR denarius 74 CE
    Obv: Head laureate right; T CAESAR IMP VESP
    Rev: COS III across field; 2 laurel trees upright
    RIC 690 [VESP]; BMC * p. 28 Note, RSC 47
    Ex: Salon Numizmatyczny Mateusz Wójcicki (27/02/2021) Lot 3136
    Titus ric 690 V.jpg
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I've always liked that reverse type & always wanted one myself, congrats.
    Orfew likes this.
  4. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    I know how disappointed you were when you thought you lost it. How quickly things can change! It's a fantastic coin and it may have been mine :) had the auction house not had a glitch in registering me! But I'm very happy you got it.

    I would think because Vespasian was not a Julio-Claudian he used the old designs to link himself to the past. Congrats on getting one of the rarities!

    Here's my Vespasian:


    Laureate head right

    COS V
    Laurel trees upright

    Rome 74 CE
    RIC 681 (R)
    Antiquarian type copying the denarius of Octavian
    Theodosius, Tony1982, Limes and 14 others like this.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I love it when a long-sought-after coin slips under the radar and, as a specialist collector, I'm able to appreciate it for its rarity and pick it up for a reasonable price at auction. I'm glad that happened to you, @Orfew -- and glad that you and I have different specialties and are not competing for the same coins!

    I have many such coins in my Faustina I and II collection that I acquired because their rarity was unappreciated. Perhaps the most dramatic is this first issue denarius of Faustina I, which I discussed last year.

    Faustina I, AD 138-140.
    Roman AR denarius, 2.85 g, 16.6 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, first issue, AD 138-139.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG, bare-headed and draped bust of Faustina, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA AVG, Concordia seated left, holding patera and resting left arm on throne, cornucopiae under chair.
    Refs: British Museum 1978, 0314.2; cf. Strack 391 (Ashmolean), Hunter 1 (GLAHM 26918). RIC --; Cohen --; RCV --; CRE --.
    Notes: BMC p. 8* cites Strack 392 in error; RSC 146b correctly cites Strack 391 and cites BMC p. 8*.
    Tony1982, Limes, Curtisimo and 12 others like this.
  6. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Congrats on an awesome addition!

    I would have to go back and double check our correspondence to confirm if Harry indeed had three specimens of the type.
    svessien and Orfew like this.
  7. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter


    Athens NewStyle 2 Palms

    One in the ANS (thus in Thompson)
    One in the Kilkis hoard 1962
    One in the Demetrios l Hoard 1994 (example has only a single Palm!)

    One sold by Roma E-sale 55 and won by me 2019-the only one in private hands?
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
    Theodosius, Limes, Curtisimo and 14 others like this.
  8. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    I know the feeling that you describe here, I think. It’s a feeling of accomplishment, and that one goal post just has been moved.
    For several years, after I started collecting, I had the idea that I never would be able to get one of the coins of Julius Caesar. Then I got lucky as the only bidder with a pretty modest starting bid on this:

    Sear 1402 Caesar denarius.jpg

    Now I’m thinking I’m never going to get a portrait coin of Caesar.

    It’s fun to hear that the Flavian department just hauled another white whale too. You guys have been busy so far in 2021. Congrats!
    Theodosius, Tony1982, Limes and 13 others like this.
  9. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Congratulations on the Titus rarity, @Orfew! What a nice surprise to discover that you actually won a coin that you thought you had lost!

    Here's a coin of Titus that is described as being "very rare" due to the left-facing portrait, but I haven't conducted very much research on it to further assess its relatively availability. There were 16 of this type (Hendin 1583) listed in acsearch, and only two of them had the left-facing portrait (Hendin 1583a).

    Hendin 1583a Judaea Capta Titus : Jew Kneeling in Front of Trophy.jpg

    Titus, 79-81. AR Denarius (18 mm, 3.27 g, 7 h). Rome mint, 79 AD, after 1st of July. [IMP] TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M (outward); laureate head of Titus to left. Rev. TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII P P; male Jewish captive kneeling right at base of trophy of arms with hands bound behind his back. Hendin 1583a. RIC 31 (R2). Very rare with portrait left.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
    Theodosius, Tony1982, Limes and 10 others like this.
  10. Volodya

    Volodya Junior Member

    Here's one I never honestly expected to own.

    Crawford 457/1, struck for Julius Caesar by A. Allienus in Sicily in 47 BC. Quite scarce rather than rare, but typically horribly produced. I've seen almost none I would put in my collection; the few I might've considered brought a lot more than I was willing to pay. I expected to be the underbidder on this one too; when I won it I worried there was some hidden problem. There really isn't though; sometimes things just fall through the cracks.


    Phil Davis
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  11. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    And here is a coin I never expected to find, let alone own:
    Marcus Antonius  Leg IIII.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: ANT AVG III VIR R P C, Praetorian galley, thyrsos behind prow REVERSE: LEG IIII, legionary eagle between two standards
    Patrae 32-31 BC
    3.3g, 17mm
    RSC 29; Syd 1220, Cr544/16
  12. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    This is a coin I have coveted for years and thought it would always be out of reach, but I managed to finally snatch it in my "upper" adulthood from a CNG auction.

    Sestertius of Caligula with three sister reverse.

  13. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A most enviable acquisition indeed. One of the true great ancient coins.
    Well in terms of rarity I would offer that none of the Flavian specialists on this board own one. One went in the latest Leu auction and if you search the sold listings you can see for yourself how highly it is valued.
    Beyond rarity though yours is a stunning example. Congrats on owning such a formidable piece.
    Carl Wilmont and octavius like this.
  14. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    To all who have posted, thank you. Please keep them coming if you have not already posted. I never get tired of seeing the coins that fellow collectors hold in high regard. Since I started my journey here in 2015 I have learned much from many of you.
    DonnaML likes this.
  15. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Here is one I never thought I'd own. A denarius of Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio which I read about in Sear's book on the imperatorial coinage.

    It's a coin that really doesn't appear for sale often. If it does, it's usually sold by well established auction houses.

    I counted about 10 examples in acsearch after removing duplicates.

  16. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Wow I love the scales on the reverse!Is that what makes the coin special and rare?
  17. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    @Orfew, thank you for the compliments on this coin. Your observation supports its description of being "very rare." I actually acquired it in the recent Leu auction that you mentioned. My primary interest in it was due to it being a "Judaea Capta" coin. Having a nice portrait of Titus that was left-facing certainly added to its appeal. I was somewhat surprised to have the winning bid, although I did adjust it some for this rarity factor and the general price inflation that's been noted over the past year. I'm looking forward to seeing the coin in hand!
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  18. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Personally I think coins like this are well bought. This will always be in demand and will always be a superb coin. The fact that it is a Flavian just means you have good taste. LOL. This past summer I had a shed built for my back yard. I could have purchased one ready made for less than half of the price of the one I went with but I did not. I got to choose the materials, I vetted the builder and I got to choose all of the particulars. When I first met the builder he said something I remembered and which has proven true. "The quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten". It has only been several months and the price is fading into the background. The thirty year guarantee has not.
    Theodosius and Carl Wilmont like this.
  19. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    The coin arrived today and I could not be happier. The coin is much nicer in hand than the auction photo. Here is my photo.
    New v690 titus.jpg
  20. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Fantastic Andrew. An important coin.
  21. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Many thanks my friend...I think so too. I hope that you may able to find one soon.
    DonnaML likes this.
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