Top ten Coins of Domitian for 2019

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orfew, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter


    Domitian AR Denarius 81 CE (Group 3) Rome
    (20 mm )
    Obv: Head laureate right; IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT
    Rev: Minerva standing left with victory and spear, shield at feet; COS VII DES VIII P P
    RIC 29 (R3)
    Purchased from ebay October 3, 2019.

    Domitian RIC 29 new.jpg
    I purchased this because it is a rare PONT denarius. Most denarii from 81 CE that are found will be AVG PM in the obverse legend. All PONT denarii are rare to extremely rare. This one is no exception. I know of a few others but it is rated as R3 (unique) in RIC.


    Domitian, as Augustus (AD 81-96). AR denarius Rome
    13 September-31 December AD 81
    (18mm, 3.02 gm, 6h).
    NGC Choice Fine 4/5 - 4/5.
    Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M, laureate head of Domitian right Rev: TR P COS VII-DES VIII P P, pulvinar of Jupiter and Juno, draped, surmounted by thunderbolt.
    RIC II 72 (R2), BMC--, RSC--, Cohen--
    2019 August 18 Ancient Coin Selections from the “Morris Collection” Phillip C Peck of New York, Part II Monthly Online Auction #271933 Lot # 35169

    Domitian RIC 72.jpg
    This was the first D 72 that I had seen come to market in the 3 years I had been looking. As you will see later on in this list, no sooner had I bought this one when another appeared on the market. I bought that too. This is yet another very rare Domitian denarius from the end of 81 CE.


    Domitian. Denarius. Rome 82-83 CE .
    Obv: head laureate r; IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PM
    Rev: Salvs std l with corn ears and poppy; SALVS AVGVST.
    RIC-145 (R). BMC 54 RSC 412
    Jesus Vico Mail bid auction # 153 Lot 3135 March 7, 2019
    Domitian RIC 145.jpg

    Quite often people will complain about Domitian denarii because the coinage is dominated by the Minerva types. However, as this list shows, there is far more to the denarii of Domitian than Minerva. I love this coin for the SALVS reverse. This type is rare for Domitian.


    Domitian, 81-96. Denarius 85 CE Fourth Issue
    (Silver, 20 mm, 3.32 g, 6 h), Rome.
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII Laureate head of Domitian to right, wearing aegis.
    Rev. IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT P P Minerva standing front, head to left, holding thunderbolt in her right hand and a spear in her left; behind her, shield.
    BMC 79. Cohen 178 var. (without aegis). RIC 336 (R2).
    Leu Numismatic E-Auction 8 Lot 1038 June 30, 2019.

    Domitian RIC 336 Leu.jpg
    Yes, this is a Minerva reverse, but not an ordinary one. Note the Aegis on the breast of Domitian on the obverse. The use of the Aegis on Domitian denarii is quite rare.


    Domitian. Denarius. Rome 85 CE. (Fifth Issue)
    Obv: Head laureate r; IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TR P V
    Rev: Minvera advancing r with spear and shield; IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POT PP
    RIC-342 (R2). BMC –
    Jesus Vico Mail bid auction # 153 Lot 3136 March 7, 2019
    Coin depicted on the Wildwinds database

    Domitian RIC 342.jpg
    Another special example of a Minerva reverse denarius. This one is special because of the rare legend CENS POT.


    DOMITIAN, (A.D. 81-96), silver denarius, Rome mint, issued A.D. 86, Second Issue
    (3.47 g),
    Obv. laureate head of Domitian to right, around IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V, Rev. around IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P, Minerva standing to right, fighting, holding javelin and shield,
    RIC 435 (R), RSC 201b BMC 93.
    Attractive blue and gold patina, extremely fine.
    Ex: H.D. Rauch GmbH, Auction 85 Lot 464 November 26, 2009 (sold for 333 USD plus fees)

    Ex Dr V.J.A. Flynn Collection. With old dealer's ticket.
    Noble Numismatics Auction 120 Lot 3217 April 4, 2019.
    Best of Type in the Forum Ancient Coins Gallery

    Domitian RIC 435 .jpg
    One of my favorite coins from my collection. This pedigreed denarius has a fantastic obverse portrait. The toning is superb and it is overall just a beautiful coin.


    Domitian AR Denarius. Rome 88 CE (Group 2)
    Rev: Minerva Minerva stg l with thunderbolt and spear; CENS P.P.P.
    RIC-568 (R2) BMC 139 RSC 27
    Jesus Vico Mail bid auction # 153 Lot 3133 March 7, 2019
    Coin depicted on the Wildwinds database

    Domitian RIC 568.jpg
    This is another special coin. Not only is the portrait great, the reverse is also interesting. As you can see, the reverse does not have a normal legend. Instead it has CENS P P P in the fields on the reverse.


    Domitian, AR Denarius 81-96 CE. (81 CE Group 4)
    Obv: Laureate head right; IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT
    Rev: Tripod with fillets; dolphin above; TR P COS VII DES VIII P P
    RIC: 73 (R3) Not in the RIC plates
    Purchased from Barakat Gallery Los Angeles

    Domitian RIC 73 New 2.jpg

    I thought about this coin for a while before buying it because I had other targets. In the end I bought it because it is an extremely rare (R3) denarius and it is also a PONT type. This year has been fantastic for PONT denarii. I did not see more than 1 or 2 for about 3 years and all of a sudden several came to market this year. No…I did not get all of them. I know that I missed at least one that went to another collector of Flavian coins.


    Domitian AR denarius 81 CE (Group 4)
    Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG PM; Head laureate right
    Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat draped above winged thunderbolt.
    RIC 72 (R2).
    Zeus Numismatics Prime 1 Lot 282 November 17, 2019

    d72 joined.jpg
    I was stunned when I saw this come to auction. The legend IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG PM is very rare for Domitian. I had just bought a D72 in a Heritage auction when this one appeared. It was of course misattributed. Many of Domitian’s denarii are misattributed by collectors and sellers. In my opinion this coin has a superb portrait of Domitian. Some first denarii can have unusual portraits but this one is a stunner.


    Domitian AR Denarius, 81 CE (Group 3)

    Rome mint, 81 AD
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
    Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Curule chair, wreath above
    RIC 21 (R2). Not in RIC plates. BMC p. 299 note. RSC 58
    Ex: Harry N. Sneh Collection
    Ex: David Atherton Collection
    Coin depicted on database
    Domitian RIC 21.png

    Speaking of stunners, the portrait on this coin is nothing short of amazing. The other amazing thing about this coin is the provenance. It belonged to Harry Sneh and our own David Atherton. This is another very rare PONT denarius for Domitian. What is also exceptional is the condition of the coin. This had to be my number 1 coin of Domitian this year because of the portrait and because of the previous owners.
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  3. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    10 clearly wonderful coins! I like all of them and it is difficult to choose, but my favorites are 6 and 4. I like the detail and fantastic portrait style on both. Hopefully you will also add many rare and beautiful Domitians in 2020.
    Ancient Aussie and Orfew like this.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Clapping hands emot.gif

    My favorites are 7 and 8 for the details on the reverses. Some excellent coins for one of my least favorite emperors of the 1st Century AD. His coinage is great. His reign was fraught with terror according to what I've read (although that could just be the prejudice of the historian).
    Orfew likes this.
  5. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Orfew.....beautifull additions to your collection:cat:. You have a monopoly on this emperor. I have to admit, I have zero coins from him:(
    Orfew likes this.
  6. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    So @Orfew, since it's hard to tell from looking at your collection, what's your favorite emperor to collect? :troll::rolleyes:

    That's a fantastic group of Domitians. Real commitment too. Not sure I'd be satisfied with focusing so much on a single ruler, but it's nice to see someone else so committed to hunting down all the rare, legend error coins, and unpublished variants for one particular emperor.
    Orfew likes this.
  7. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Great collection of DDDDDDDDDDomitian Denarii! I like #5 best.
    Orfew likes this.
  8. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    This is a superb collection @Orfew .Please excuse my ignorance but i can’t stop asking myself this question : why Domitian?
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Five Minerva, four furniture and Salus. I know Domitian has several other types that strike me as more interesting (dolphin, Pegasus and a lot of Alexandrian coins come to mind) but I am not a student of the series so rarity is lost on me. Of the group, I prefer #4 (Minerva) for style.
    We could ask that of all our specialties. While Domitian is my third favorite Flavian, I applaud the depth of your interest.
    Orfew and TIF like this.
  10. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter

    Congrats on a satisfying year, @Orfew!

    Not having a specialist's interest in Flavians, my favorites are probably different from your :D. I think I like #10 best and would love to see better pictures. The portrait of #10 is interesting and but the reverse is what makes me like it. It's different from the usual Domitian. #9 has an appealing portrait and lovely toning.
    Orfew likes this.
  11. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Excellent coins.. #4 would be my favorite.
    Orfew likes this.
  12. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    A really excellent group of desirable Domitians. My favourites: #4 for the superb portrait (IMHO, the best of the lot) and the rare reverse configuration. I think the same engraver is responsible for several denarii portraits in my collection from that era. #8 although not super rare, it's a wonderful example of the type. Plus, I like the fact this is a transitional type struck before the Minervas dominated the series.

    All in all, I think you had a very productive year and I'm eager to see what 2020 holds for your collection.
    Orfew likes this.
  13. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    .very nice Orfew..and thats just, sir, are a serious collector :)
    Orfew likes this.
  14. Battos23

    Battos23 New Member

    Yeah my favorites are 6 and 4 but all these coins are remarkable.
  15. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    I have to say - even with no Flavian expertise - I always enjoy the explanations and your ability to spot these rarities that are sitting in plain sight.

    #4, #1 and #5 are my top three - but all are more for being in your collection. Best wishes for the coming year.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Orfew likes this.
  16. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great focus, Andrew!!!
    Orfew likes this.
  17. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thank you. I would have thought that you might go for a nice Germania Capta aureus.
  18. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    I love the reverse on this coin. Unfortunately Domitian only struck 3 types with Minerva holding Victory with spear and shield at feet. They are RIC 29, 30 and 99. I have RIC 29 and RIC 99. I would love to find a RIC 30. Unfortunately it is R2 and I have never seen one for sale...yet. In fact all appearances of this Minerva are rare to very rare. I wish this type had been continued, it is really interesting.
    TIF likes this.
  19. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    The short answer is that I find the coinage interesting. Thanks to posts by members such as @David Atherton I started looking more closely at this coinage. I started to see that though the denarii are dominated by the appearance of the 4 main Minerva types, there is much more to his coinage than this. Even the Minervas are interesting. For example consider the speed at which some of the imperial acclamations changes during his reign. This was not just the adding of titles. Some of these titles were added because Domitian was fighting and winning many military campaigns. These campaigns may be forgotten but the coins are still here to remind us that they occurred.

    the period that most fascinates me in his reign is the first year. The first year denarii continue many reverse from the rule of Titus. The shortness of the reign of Titus meant that the mint must have been in a hurry to get coins minted for Domitian. To me this presents an interesting snapshot of a historical event. I guess the reason I love these coins so much has to do with the history they represent.

    Many people overlook the coins of Domitian. I am more than okay with that. It does after all reduce the competition for these interesting coins. I am happy to be one of the few interested in these coins. It takes all kinds of collectors with all kinds of interests to make a health collecting community.
  20. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice set of silver all great coins within your specialty, but I love the eye appeal of two Minerva's 4 & 5. Congrats.
  21. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the answer. You’re a real passionate. I like that.
    Orfew likes this.
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