I have written in the past about dubious listings in RIC for Faustina I, Faustina II, Julia Soaemias and Julia Mamaea, in which RIC lists coins -- almost always citing Cohen -- that don't really exist, are misidentified examples of known coins, or represent ancient counterfeits. This post concerns a denarius of Lucilla listed in RIC but which doesn't exist as described. I have made no attempt to comb through all the listings in RIC for this empress to identify every dubious entry; this is just one I happened to notice while researching a new acquisition to my collection. Here is RIC 788: Here is the relevant listing in RIC: RIC 789 is listed as "similar" to 788, but instead of a palladium, Vesta holds a torch. The listing cites Cohen 93 and states (as per Cohen) the issue is "common," marked by an italicized C under the reverse description. Although the British museum does not have a copy of Cohen 93 in their collection (How could they? I will argue it doesn't exist), it does cite Cohen in the footnote to BMCRE 325. Here's the listing in BMCRE4: So, both RIC and BMC (both largely authored by Mattingly) each cite Cohen 93 uncritically. Let's look at the listing in Cohen: Cohen lists two denarii, 92 and 93 (corresponding to RIC 788 and 789, which cite Cohen). The description of 93 is translated "the same coin with a torch instead of palladium." Both coins are listed with a lower-case c following the description, indicating they are "common." Note, however that three bronze coins follow: 94, a sestertius (G.B.) described as "the same coin (as 93 -- with a torch, not a palladium) with S. C."; 95, a middle bronze (M.B.) described as "the same coin" (as 94); and 96, a middle bronze described as "same reverse (as 95), but without altar." In other words, Cohen implies that ALL THREE of these bronze issues depict vesta holding a TORCH, not a palladium. But what do these coins actually look like? Well, here's Cohen 95, the middle bronze: That's clearly a palladium, not a torch, in the goddess's hand. Here's what RIC has to say about these bronze issues. See the note to RIC 1779 at the bottom: In other words, Mattingly notices that Cohen has misidentified the palladium as a torch for the bronze issues but never thought to consider that Cohen might have done so for the denarius! I have looked at all the online databases for a denarius of Lucilla with the VESTA reverse on which the goddess holds a torch. I have used as search terms "Lucilla VESTA" and "Lucilla 789." I have examined the British Museum collection, acsearchinfo, CoinArchives, CNG's archives, Wildwinds, OCRE, Coryssa, The Coin Project, and Tantalus. I have examined Sear and Temeryazev & Makarenko as well. The Wildwinds specimen is misidentified; it's really RIC 786 (not 789), with a Venus reverse type. The OCRE specimen labeled as RIC 789, a coin in the Münzkabinett der Universität Göttingen, is actually RIC 788. Despite its worn state, the goddess is clearly holding a palladium. Pallas faces right; you can see her upraised arm pointing toward Vesta's head and her shield, which faces the T in VESTA: After examining several dozen photographs of denarii with this reverse type, I have not been able to find a single example -- despite it being "common" -- that depicts Vesta holding a torch instead of a palladium. I am convinced that the coin in the French national collection (Marked by an F before the denomination in the Cohen listing) was worn or unclear and that Cohen misidentified the object in Vesta's hand as a torch. Moreover, I am convinced that Mattingly (in both RIC and BMCRE) accepted its existence, citing Cohen uncritically, even though he noticed the error in Cohen's listing for the bronze coins with the VESTA reverse type. I have demonstrated before that Cohen often misidentifies reverse types, which are then cited by RIC (Mattingly) in an uncritical fashion. When using these older references, even though they are considered the vade mecum for collecting Roman Imperial coins, it's important not to use them uncritically. Please post any comments or coins that you feel are relevant!