An Eastern Imperial Bronze

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Lovers of Flavian bronze are keenly aware of the mystery Eastern mint that produced a spate of bronze coinage under Titus and Domitian. They are almost as highly prized as the Ephesian denarii produced under Vespasian. Luckily last week I was able to acquire a superb specimen from the series.

    Æ As, 9.44g
    Eastern Mint (Thrace?), 82 AD
    Obv: IMP D CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
    Rev: CERES AVGVST; S C in field; Ceres stg. l. with corn ears and torch
    RIC 840 (R2). BMC 520. BNC 553. RPC 533.
    Acquired from London Ancient Coins, January 2021.

    An Eastern mystery mint struck imperial bronze coins for both Titus and Domitian between 80-81. The style (heavily seriffed letters, large portraits, and massive reverse figures), and uncommon fabric (flat, almost convex flans) all suggest a mint other than Rome. Attributing exactly where these coins were struck has historically been a moving target - Mattingly in BMCRE thought Lugdunum, H.A. Cahn believed somewhere in Bithynia. More recent scholarship has looked towards Thrace as a possible location for production based on the Balkan distribution pattern of found specimens. Although the region of mintage has been narrowed down, the city itself remains elusive. RPC has suggested possibly Perinthus. Presumably a shortage of bronze coins in the region prompted a localised imperial issue which consists of sestertii, dupondii, asses, and semisses copying types struck at Rome. The mystery mint continued production uninterrupted for Domitian as Augustus after Titus's death in September 81 for perhaps a few months with little change in types. This Ceres type is dated by COS VIII to 82, perhaps within just the first few weeks of the new year judging by its rarity.

    The style of these Eastern bronzes is quite distinctive and very pleasing.
    galba68, +VGO.DVCKS, PeteB and 19 others like this.
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  3. Lueds

    Lueds Active Member

    With your nice Titus pick up you're having a good week!

    Sweet coin btw :cool:
    David Atherton likes this.
  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Very nice pickup David. That portrait is great.
    David Atherton likes this.
  5. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

    Dang you're on fire this year David! Very nice Titus.
    David Atherton likes this.
  6. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    A beauty with its attractive portrait, interesting reverse, pleasing condition and its rarity.
    David Atherton likes this.
  7. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    What makes the Ephesian denarii so desirable?
  8. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter


    Lueds, Bing, +VGO.DVCKS and 4 others like this.
  9. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter


    Lueds, Bing, +VGO.DVCKS and 3 others like this.
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