Two coins from a tumultuous period, the First Jewish Revolt

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    I guess the aphorism, or cliché, if you prefer, that every cloud has a silver lining, does apply to some situations, and this is one of them.

    Several months back I ordered a Vespasian and Titus tetradrachm of Antioch from an overseas dealer. The coin never arrived. It had a curious journey, according to the tracking, going from New York to Sacramento, back to New York, and then disappearing off the radar. I filed a missing mail form with the USPS, but have only heard back once, that they are still looking. I am not terribly optimistic that it will be recovered. The shipment disappeared during this summer's upheaval at the USPS, so that might explain to a large extent the circumstances behind the disappearance.

    Well, water under the bridge, as I see it. I did get a refund, so I'm okay, but I do feel sorry for the seller.

    Now, as it happened, another Vespasian/Titus tetradrachm became available. These coins are scarce, and they do crop up from time to time.

    This coin arrived today with any scenic tour of the US. It is quite a nice example, with good portraits, albeit with the reverse off center, but still nice.

    It was issued during the second year of the reign of Vespasian, which coincided with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

    Roman Empire, 69/70 AD
    Vespasian and his son, Titus
    Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch
    Obverse: ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤ ΚΑΙΣΑ ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΥ, Laureate bust of Vespasian facing right.
    Reverse: ΦΛΑΥΙΟΥΕΣΠ ΚΑ[ΙΣ ΕΤΟΥΣ Ν]ΕΟ ΥΙΕΡΟΥ, Laureate bust of Titus facing right, bar over B right (for "New Holy Year 2"), star in field to the left.
    Prieur 106
    24 mm, 12 h.
    13.4 grams

    D-Camera Vespasian and Titus, tetradrachm, Antioch, Year 2, 69-70 AD, 13.4 g, 10-30-20.jpg

    There is some controversy regarding the origins of this particular issue. One theory is that the coins were produced in Antioch using dies from Alexandria. Another theory is that the coins were produced in Alexandria for use in Judea, where they also served to celebrate Titus's role in leading the Roman legions in the siege and fall of Jerusalem.

    Any thoughts on that?

    I mentioned two coins, and here it is, having been posted before, my shekel of the Jewish revolt, year 2 (67/68 AD):

    13.7 grams

    D-Camera Jewish Revolt, Shekel, Year 2, Ponterio, 13.7 grams,  8-11-20.jpg

    Thank you.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great coins. I just have the below.

    Vespasian (69 - 79 A.D.)
    Antioch, Syria
    AR Tetradrachm
    O: AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Head of Vespasian, laureate head right.
    R: (T) ΦΛAYI OYEΣΠ KAIΣ ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY; Laureate Head of Titus, r.; in r. field, B=Year 2 ( 69-70 AD)
    RPC 1941 (2 spec.)., Cf. Prieur 107-107A
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a nice coin, Mat.

    I read online that the variety without the star behind Titus' portrait is rarer than the one with the star.

    I've also seen another variety with Vespasian's portrait facing left.
  5. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Those are nice Vespasian/Titus tetradrachms, @robinjojo and @Mat! Sorry to hear that your first one was lost in the mail, @robinjojo. Your year 2 shekel of the Jewish Revolt is a very attractive example!

    Here are prutot from year 2 and year 3 of the war, a denarius of Vespasian issued a few years later in celebration of the Empire's 70 AD victory over Jerusalem, and a coin from the Decapolis with an obverse of Titus that was issued during the time period of the fall of Masada (73/4 AD) where a group of Jewish rebels made a 'last stand':

    Hendin 1360 Obverse Jewish War Year 2.jpg
    Hendin 1360 Reverse Jewish War Year 2.jpg

    Judaea, The Jewish War. Æ Prutah (2.69 g), 66-70 AD. Jerusalem, year 2 (67/8 AD). 'Year two' (Paleo-Hebrew), amphora with broad rim and two handles. Reverse:'The freedom of Zion' (Paleo-Hebrew), vine leaf on small branch with tendril.

    Jewish War Year 3 larger pic.png
    Judaea, The Jewish War. Æ Prutah. Year 3 (68-69 AD). Amphora with broad rim, two handles, and a conical lid decorated with tiny globes hanging around edge. Hebrew legend "year three" / Grape leaf on vine, Hebrew legend "the freedom of Zion."

    Vespasian Denarius Judea Capta.jpg

    Vespasian (69-79 AD). Denarius. Rome. 72/73 AD. IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII; Laureate head of Vespasian right / VICTORIA – AVGVSTI; winged Victory advancing right, shouldering a palm frond, crowning a standard. 17.50 mm. 2.9 g.
    From the series of Judaea Capta coins for the victory over Jerusalem.

    Titus Gadara Obverse.png
    Titua Gadara Reverse.png

    Gadara, Decapolis. Titus as Caesar (69-79 AD). AE (17 mm, 4.10 g, 12 h). TITOΣ KAIΣAP; Laureate head of Titus right / Turreted, veiled and draped bust of Tyche right; to left, ΓΑΔΑPA (Gadara); to right, date: L ZΛP (year 137 = 73/4 AD)
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
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  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you, Carl.

    Those are very interesting and nice examples. This is an area that I am developing an interest in, and hope to be able to acquire additional coinage of that period, although I can say with almost absolute certainty that the year two shekel will be the one and only of this type for me, given the astronomical prices that they command these days.

    That year two shekel came to me many years ago (late 80s as I recall) through Ponterio and Associates of San Diego, during one of their auctions. Normally Rick dealt with world and especially Mexican coinage, but every now and then he had a page or two devoted to ancients. That shekel was one of two or three being sold at the time, and as I recall it was listed as a VF. As I recall I bought it for around $750. I was glad to secure it, knowing what other examples were selling for through Harlan Berk and CNG, though usually in higher grade. VF is good enough for me.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
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    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    I have exactly one prutah of the First Revolt, and one Hasmonean lepton, but in comparison to @Carl Wilmont's prutah, neither one is worth the likely futile effort of finding the .jpgs. Good vibage, though, just from having representative examples. (Found the coins, though, which was cool, not least since I'd forgotten how much Nabataean AE I have.)
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