Domitian orichalcum As

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jay GT4, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    This rare (edit: not so rare) coin arrived today of Domitian. Minted in Rome for circulation in Syria under Vespasian, it's struck in orichalcum, which must have looked impressive when new. Even today 2000 years later it has a beautiful chocolate patina and retains a lovely portrait of the young prince. In hand the encrustations on the reverse do not detract from the coin. Also not as pitted in hand. Sold as the more common RIC 1579 this one is actually RIC 1578 rated R2 by RIC (edit: no it really is RIC 1579 rated C). I bought it because of the portrait, being rare (edit: Not so rare) is a bonus.


    Let's see your Roman mint coins for circulation in the East, or anything you want.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    Beautiful coin, @Jay GT4!!! I was just looking through my new Butcher book around Domitian's coins. :bookworm::bookworm::bookworm:

    Here's my little Trajan minted in Rome for use in Syria. I have a 2nd small one too that I've mentioned before that I need to photo (I'd mentioned needing to photo it then too:sorry:)... hopefully tonight? :woot:

    I'm still on the look out for the larger version of this coin (there's 2 in the next Savoca Blue auction).
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  4. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Great coin Justin.

    These coins have always intrigued me. How were they transported to the east? Maybe with the legions, to protect the money. But then that could open a whole other world of problems.... Also think of the logistics in transporting that much coinage, the weight alone must have been massive.
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  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    Would you think by land or by sea? Both? Did they travel progressively or all together? Did the emissions of "Roman coins for Syria" travel with or coincide with a visit by the emperor?
  6. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Excellent coin Jay. Here is one of my favourite coins of Domitian. Also R2.

    Domitianus (81 - 96 AD).
    Denarius. 83 AD Rome.
    (20 mm 3.47 g)
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M. Head with laurel wreath on the right.
    Rev: TR POT II COS VIIII OF THE XP P. Minerva with lance and shield on capital standing to the right, in front of it an owl.
    RIC 164; C.606; BMC 4
    Ex: Silbury Coins January 28 2018

    According to @David Atherton from another thread.

    "A very special denarius, struck in the very first issue which introduced the four standard Minerva types that would dominate the denarius issues for the remainder of the reign. Also, one of the first types struck at the new standard of nearly 100% silver fineness!"

    Domitian ric 164 2 edited.jpeg
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  7. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Outstanding coin Andrew!

    Your guess is as good as mine. I don't think we have any evidence either way but this has prompted me to look at the sources.
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  8. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member I'm embarrassed

    I misread RIC, it's not so rare. I was looking at the wrong line!
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  9. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    @Jay GT4 I don't care whether it's rare or common, it's a fine looking coin with great portrait. Congrats!
  10. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    You know, I was reading this thread and saw the part about transporting coinage, and became curious about that so I did some digging. I didn't find anything about transporting coins but I found some history about Roman coinage.
    Now, I'm betting most of you guys already know most, if not all, of this stuff, but I'm posting a link anyway....just in case.

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  11. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Andrew! I love it.
  12. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    it just of late that i've heard of Rome mint coinage for the provinces...kool coin Jay..
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  13. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Lovely coin @Jay GT4 !

    Quick question, I had thought that until very recently (when they salvaged a shipwreck off the coast of Sicily), orichalcum was really just legend. Or does orichalcum mean something different in numismatics?
  14. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys!

    Orichalcum was a copper/zinc alloy that was used in Dupondii and sestertii. It's very much like a modern brass. The ancients would be able to tell by the color of the metal the denomination since orichalcum was more valuable than bronze.

    Not to be confused with the metal from Antlantis :)
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  15. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  16. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    From the link posted above. Yes, you are correct , Sir !

    [ Gone were the silver coins below the denarius to be replaced in 23 BCE by the brass (copper and zinc) orichalcum sestertius and dupondius (pl. dupondii),]
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  17. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing

    Finally... the other one is a bit nicer (less sand), but with this one I wonder if someone had it around their neck or tacked to their wall.
  18. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I also have one of these "brass as" coins of Trajan.

    Trajan. A.D. 98-117.
    Roman orichalcum as, 8.49 g, 23.5 mm, 6 h.
    Struck in Rome for circulation in Syria (?); Struck in Antioch (?), AD 115/16.
    Obv: IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GERM, radiate and draped bust right; c/m: bucranium within incuse punch.
    Rev: DAC PARTHICO P M TR POT XX COS VI P P around laurel wreath enclosing large SC.
    Refs: RIC 647; BMCRE 1094; Cohen 123; RCV 3243; Woytek 937v; McAlee 509; Strack 479; BN 953-5. For c/m: Pangerl 63; Howgego 294.

    At one time, these were thought to be struck in Rome for use in Syria, but that may not be the case. According to the Norton Antiquities Database:

    "This coin is an example of a rare sub-group of Trajan's aes coinage. They are probably from an eastern mint (often thought to be Antioch, but this is perhaps unnecessarily precise). The reverse, an S C in a laurel wreath, is associated with that mint, as is the bucranium (bulls-head) countermark. The coins are dated to circa 116 when Trajan was resident in Antioch. The denomination is not really known; although radiate and of oricalcum (brass) they are smaller than dupondii. RIC / BMC label them as asses, but they are labelled as semises by Metcalf (W E Metcalf, 'A note of Trajan's aes from Antioch', American Numismatic Society Museum Notes (1977) 22, 67). They may have circulated as semises (half asses) or as half-dupondii / oricalcum asses (the as was normally struck in copper). Many examples of this type have a 'bucranium' (bulls-head) countermark like this one. There are 20 coins of this denomination at Bath, and one of them has the bucranium countermark. Outside of Syria these coins are only common in the N W provinces suggesting that they may have formed part of an official government consignment of coinage from the East (D R Walker, 'The Roman Coins' in B Cunliffe (ed.) The Temple of Sulis Minerva at Bath, Volume 2, The Finds from the Sacred Springs, Oxford 1988). The degree of wear (often worn flat, as here) suggests that they may have circulated for more than a century after their importation."
  19. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    And here's a left-facing Domitian with a similar reverse actually minted in Syria (Antioch):

    Domitian semis Antioch.jpg
    Domitian as Caesar, AD 69-81
    Roman provincial Æ semis; 6.93 g, 21.1 mm, 1 h
    Syria, Seleukis and Pieria, Antiochia ad Orontem, AD 69-81
    Obv: DOMITIA-NVS CAESAR, laureate head left
    Rev: SC within laurel wreath
    Refs: SGI 872; BMC 20.181, 251; Cohen 746; RPC II 2017; McAlee 403a.
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