Domitian denarius with lovely portrait

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orfew, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Though this denarius is quite rare that is not the primary reason I bought it. I took one look at the portrait and that was enough. The legends are full and readable and all of the devices are present and clear. The reverse has a rare legend ending in CENS POT PP. I had this on my watch list for a few weeks from MA-Shops. I thought the asking price was a bit hight so I made an offer and the seller accepted! The worst someone can say is no. I am also polite when I make an offer and polite when the offer is accepted or refused.

    According to RIC the denarii were debased to post reform Neronian standards between the 3rd and 4th issues. That makes this coin one of the first in the newly debased issue. The fineness would remain stable for the rest of Domitian's rule.

    This coin will be my 17th Domitian denarius. I look forward to adding it to my collection. I think it is a double die match for the RIC plate coin.

    OCRE=3 (BMC, Berlin,Albert Ludwigs Universitat)

    There is one in the BMC acquired in 1987 (included in the OCRE results) and one in the Paris collection. The acsearch example is from the collection of Yves Gunzenreiner. There are 2 in the Forvm Ancient Coins gallery. One is owned by our own @David Atherton.

    domitian RIC 333.jpg

    Domitian AR Denarius 85 CE (Fourth Issue)
    (20.5 mm 3.22 g)
    Obv: Laureate head r, IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P IIII
    Rev: Minerva stg r on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r owl
    RIC 333 (R2); BMC 78(cross symbol), Cohen 180
    Purchased from Phillipe Saive Numimatique March 15, 2019
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  3. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Very nice coin! I love the toning on it too!
    ma-shops likes this.
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    A very pleasing example.
  5. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I think Domitian's best denarius portraits were engraved between 84-88. Yours a fine example of such. Congrats!
  6. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    Sharp portrait, and some sweet little flow lines!
  7. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    The coin arrived today. Here is an updated photo. The toning is just beautiful and the coin looks much better in hand than in the photos.


    Domitian RIC 333 New.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
    Ryro, Johndakerftw, Jay GT4 and 2 others like this.
  8. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Well-Known Member

    Minor comment: the image is a bit blown out, losing some of the detail. It might be worth taking another picture or making a few tweaks to the image. Here are a couple quick edits which probably bring it closer to what it looks like:

  9. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks @AncientJoe
    That is indeed more what the coin actually looks like. Thanks for taking the time to do this. Since my camera broke a couple of months ago I have been using my iPhone to take pictures. I am still looking for a decent camera.
  10. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Hmm. iPhones are capable of taking excellent coin photos. I wonder if practicing with your iPhone camera would yield better results than a much much more complicated DSLR or manual-mode-capable fixed lens camera. Many people on CT use their iPhones for coin photography and are able to capture beautiful and crisp images so it is possible.

    Some general tips for iPhone coin photography which may help with your problems:

    • Place the coin on an overturned mug or stack of books or something, with the camera sticking out past the mug/books, of course. You must eliminate motion when touching the shutter button and having the phone braced on something is
    • In my experience with iPhone coin photography, a gray or black background is better than white. The camera meters the subject incorrectly with a white background, usually making the coin too dark. I'm not sure what effect your red background is having. Maybe the red background is part of the problem?
    • Orient the coin directly under the camera lens so that your images aren't distorted in shape.
    • Get the camera as close to the coin as possible but make sure the camera will still focus. At some amount of nearness the camera cannot focus correctly and the images will be blurry. Perhaps that too is part of your problem.
    • When preparing the shot, touch the screen over the coin. Touching the screen directs your phone to focus on that part of the grid.
    • Make sure you have appropriate lighting. Directional light from ~11:00 to ~1:00 is usually best, at a bit of an angle to the plane of the coin.
    • Do not zoom your image unless your phone has optical zoom (some iPhones have a 2x telephoto lens)
    Oh, and make sure the lens is clean :D.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
    Orfew likes this.
  11. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks @TIF but I am useless at this. I know what my strengths are and coin photography is not one of them. I do however appreciate the advice from you and others. Tried several of your tips and my photos were worse than before.
  12. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Hmm. Well, then one final bit of advice: do not buy a fancy camera! The dealer images are generally really good for most of the coins you buy. No need to torture yourself if photography isn't your thing :).
    Archilochus and Jay GT4 like this.
  13. Archilochus

    Archilochus Active Member

    Thanks @TIF for this checklist! Quick question: is there a setting that reduces the glare that the iPhone perceives? That has been my main problem, especially on bright high relief silver coins. The phone seems to "see more light" than my eyes do.

    Could just be a lighting issue of course, which I hear is 80% of the battle.
  14. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    That is a really lovely coin Orfew. Nice detailed background too.
    Orfew likes this.
  15. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Yes, phone cameras tend to boost saturation and contrast. I think you're right about lighting being 80% of the battle.

    Try diffusing the light. A thin white plastic grocery bag works well, or a translucent milk carton, or something similar. I have occasionally wrapped a plastic grocery bag around my light source and should probably do that routinely since my images often have overly-bright spots-- especially silver coins or bronzes with shiny patinas.
    Archilochus likes this.
  16. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Here is my latest attempt after playing with the lighting. This is very much closer to the way the coin actually looks.

    Johndakerftw, Jay GT4 and Bing like this.
  17. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

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