Around the Orbis in Three Months

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I won this sestertius in early December and worryingly it disappeared from tracking shortly after leaving Germany on the 15th of December. After many weeks went by with no further update I pretty much gave up on ever receiving it. To my utter amazement the coin arrived yesterday! A near three month long journey.

    T161d.jpg Titus
    Æ Sestertius, 28.24g
    Rome mint, 80-81 AD
    Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
    Rev: PROVIDENT AVGVST; S C in exergue; Vespasian and Titus, both togate, stg. r. and l., together holding globe over rudder
    RIC 161 (R). BMC 181. BNC 171.
    Ex Teutoburger Auction 132/133, 1-5 December 2020, lot 459.

    An iconic dynastic type struck during Titus's fairly large bronze issue of 80-81. Mattingly in BMCRE II succinctly sums up the reverse: "A type of 'Providentia Augusti' shows Vespasian, now a god, handing over to Titus the 'regimen orbis', symbolized by a globe over a rudder. 'Providentia' is the virtue of wise foresight, which leads an Emperor to make the succession sure." This bit of imperial propaganda must have been extremely important to the new regime based on the commonness of the type. It was very important for Titus as the new princeps to show continuity with his father's policies. The powerful symbolism of Vespasian handing over 'the rudder of the world' to Titus is a brilliant piece of visual storytelling. This right facing portrait is slightly rarer than the left facing variant.

    Apologies if the above write-up seems somewhat familiar and redundant - by a quirk of fate I posted the left facing portrait variant last week.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
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  3. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Congratulations on your surprise happy ending! Nice coin.
    David Atherton likes this.
  4. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

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  5. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    D.A., Congrats on a great score :D! Despite some surface pitting the coins is well struck & centered. The portrait is of fine style & the reverse is picturesque.
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  6. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    "He's got the whole world in his hands"
    While the focus of this coin is naturally on the interesting reverse, I cannot help but marvel at the sympathetic portrait. I suspect a very talented engraver is responsible.
    David Atherton likes this.
  7. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    A very nice addition!
    I think there are few other types where the right bust is more scarce than the left bust. I have noticed that the left busts are relatively common on Titus coins, especially when you compare it to Domitian. Is there an explanation for that?
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  8. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Very nice addition, David.
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  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Nice coin and I'm glad it finally arrived.
    David Atherton likes this.
  10. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    For the bronze that it is certainly the case ... why that is I do not know.
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  11. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    There are a few cases. The following coin is one of those. On this denarius of Vespasian the left facing portrait is rare but the right facing one is even more rare.

    If you are trying to find a coin with this reverse legend you have 2 choices, a coin like the one below which is RIC 1340 or the rarer on which is RIC 1341
    Vespasian RIC 1340.jpg
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