Vespasian Æ Dupondius, 14.36g Rome mint, 71 AD RIC 282 (R2). BMC 596. Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r. Rev: TVTELA AVGVSTI; S C in exergue; Tutela std. l., with a child either side Acquired from Praefectus Coins, July 2019. Ex The Morris Collection. Tutela, the goddess of guardianship, is a rare personification on Roman coinage. She first appears on the dupondii of Vitellius and later under Vespasian during his great bronze issue of 71, both on the dupondius and a unique sestertius. The type under Vespasian is extremely scarce with only two reverse dies known for the dupondius. The unique sestertius was acquired by Curtis Clay, for which he wrote the following concerning the TVTELA reverse type: 'Cohen suggested a dynastic interpretation of this TVTELA AVGVSTI rev. type: Vitellius seated with his two children, one boy and one girl, under Vitellius; Domitilla, Vespasian's deceased wife, seated with her sons Titus and Domitian under Vespasian. Mattingly, in BMC, p. xliv, modified Cohen's interpretation: "Cohen can hardly be right in identifying the woman with Domitilla, but the children seem to stand for Titus and Domitian, and Tutela is the guardian care of the Emperor that watches over his sons." However, I prefer Mattingly's alternate interpretation, which he explains in a footnote: "Or the children might represent citizens and Tutela would then be the Emperor's ward over his subjects. Cf. Suetonius, Divus Vespasianus, 5, an omen that portended 'desertam rem p. civili aliqua perturbatione in tutelam eius ac velut in gremium deventuram' ['that the Roman state, abandoned because of some civil agitation, would fall under his protection (tutela) and as it were into his lap']....Martial (v.1.7ff.) addresses Domitian as 'o rerum felix tutela salusque / sospite quo gratum credimus esse Iovem' [O happy protector (tutela) and savior of our affairs, whose continuing good health makes us believe that Jupiter is on our side']." These quotes, and others that Mattingly indicates in the same note, show that 'tutela' was commonly used in Vespasian's day to mean the emperor's solicitous care for his subjects. Plus, the few later appearances of a Tutela type on Roman coins, under Tetricus I and Carausius, do not include children and seem to refer to governing not childrearing.' As can clearly be seen on this well preserved dupondius the two children standing either side of Tutela are togate, indicating that they are both boys and perhaps can be viewed as further evidence that Mattingly's alternate theory is correct and the two children do indeed represent the empire's citizens. Unfortunately, the Tutela type was struck rather fleetingly in 71 and did not become part of Vespasian's regular canon of reverse types. One of the finest known examples of the type. A double die match with the ANS specimen 1906.236.246. NB: BMC 527 records the type with an obverse reading COS II, however, the obverse has been tooled from an original COS III die. Its reverse die is also known to be paired with other COS III obverses. The coin came slabbed. It is no longer so. When I made the decision last year to collect Flavian bronze the idea was to acquire types that would be impossible to obtain in silver, thus allowing my little collection to present a better picture of Flavian coinage than it could with just silver alone. Doing so would also take me down research paths I would never have ventured on otherwise. This dupondius fits that criteria rather well! Feel free to post any 'white whales' and/or unusual or unique types. Coins featuring children would be welcomed as well. Also, does anyone have a Tutela reverse?