The Resurgence of Rome!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    I am thrilled to have recently acquired an important iconic Flavian 'grail' coin. Super rare and not often seen 'unenhanced' (no tooling or smoothing!). An honest coin in fine style.

    Æ Sestertius, 25.37g
    Rome mint, 71 AD
    Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., drapery on l. shoulder
    Rev: ROMA RESVRGES; S C in exergue; Vespasian stg. l., raising kneeling Roma (city); behind, the goddess Roma stg. r.
    RIC 195 (R2). BMC 565. BNC 531.
    Acquired from Marti Numismatics, September 2020. Ex Jean Elsen Auction 144, 14 March 2020, lot 526.

    This historic sestertius struck during the great bronze issue of 71 advertises Vespasian's ambitions to repair both the great financial burden and physical devastation Rome had suffered from the recent Civil War and Nero's great fire of 64. Vespasian is shown extending a hand to raise the kneeling personification of the city of Rome while the goddess Roma looks on with approval in the background. Suetonius tells us 'Rome was unsightly because of earlier fires and collapsed buildings...Having undertaken the restoration of the Capitol, he (Vespasian) was the first to set his hands to clearing away the rubble and carried it off on his own shoulders.' It would cost nearly 400 million aueri to set things right and put the city and the empire on sound footing. The 'Resurgence of Rome' announces the beginning of the bold plan to do so, which in hindsight was quite successful. The completion of the temple of Claudius, the rebuilding of the Capitol, the construction of temple of Peace, and the building of the Colosseum all attest to Vespasian's success at achieving his goal.

    Ironically, despite the importance of the reverse's message, these ultra-rare ROMA RESVRGES sestertii were struck from only one die pair and could not have been produced in very large numbers. Also of note, the drapery on Vespasian's left shoulder marks this coin as part of a special issue (the vast majority of his portraits are unadorned). Remarkably, this same exact scene was used for a reverse with the legend LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, probably produced by the same engraver.

    Many examples of this type seen in trade are actually Paduan aftercasts in poor condition and are mistakenly(?) presented as ancient coins.

    Here is a Paduan medal for comparison (NB: there is no drapery on the portrait).


    Only a handful of genuine specimens of the ROMA RESVRGES sestertii have been offered at auction. I feel quite privileged to have finally acquired one!

    Please post the coins you are proud to have.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Two great cons; Congratulations on getting a realie! For someone who only saw them in books, it's surprising that the Paduan missed the lettering (still quintessentially 1st-century) as badly as that. After all, it being the Renaissance and so forth, you'd think they would have been paying more attention to the textual side of what they were doing.
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  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Congrats on the acquisition. What a fine coin and excellent type!
  5. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & passionate numismatist Moderator

    I like it. Don't know anything about relative rarity here, but the coin has a wholesome look with nice surfaces, honest wear, and a good portrait.
    +VGO.DVCKS and David Atherton like this.
  6. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    D.A., Congrats on your recent score :D! I'll ditto everything L.M. posted :cool:. Posting the Paduan bronze was a good idea so we can clearly see what the composition of the original reverse looked like. Not only was the reverse a beautiful composition but a great example of Roman propaganda too. Vespasian drained the swamp created by Nero, & put Rome back on course to becoming the greatest empire in history. One coin I was proud to add to my collection several years ago is pictured below :smuggrin:. Not only is this coin unique, but it was once in the collection & illustrated in Guy Lacam's book, & has a provenance going back over 35 years.

    NGC 2101304-001, Zeno Solidus.jpg
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    It would be interesting to know what coins were known to the maker of the Paduan copy. They must have had access to a very nice one.
    DonnaML, +VGO.DVCKS, zumbly and 3 others like this.
  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & passionate numismatist Moderator

    Yow!!! :greedy:
  9. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

  10. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    Another rare sestertius, issued for Vespasian the same year in the same context.


    Vespasian, Sestertius
    Rome, 71
    26.02 g - 34 mm
    S 2302 - C 519 - RIC 455
    IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG PM TR P PP COS III, Laureate head right
    SPQR / ADSERTORI / LIBERTATIS / PVBLIC, within oak wreath (civic crown)
  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Nice new coin David.
    David Atherton likes this.
  12. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Excellent addition David. I love the facial expression on the portrait.

    I cherish most of my coins, but i am proud to have captured this one. There are 7-8 known examples. Domitian RIC 597.

    Domitian ric 597 Heritage.jpg
  13. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    That stylish avuncular portrait is the work of a very talented engraver. One of the better ones I've come across.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
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