Featured Vespasian 'Dream Coin'

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    For many years this dynastic sestertius has been a personal 'dream' or 'grail' coin of mine. Thanks to @Jay GT4 for alerting me to the listing!

    Æ Sestertius, 27.84g
    Rome mint, 71 AD
    RIC 143 (R). BMC 528.
    Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
    Rev: CAES AVG F DES IMP AVG F COS DES II; S C in field; Titus and Domitian stg. l. and r., with spears; Titus (to r.) also with parazonium, Domitian with roll
    Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, May 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Frita Reusing, no. 140. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

    An iconic dynastic sestertius struck during Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71. Mattingly in BMCRE II calls it a 'famous' type but erroneously misidentifies the figures on the reverse placing Titus on the left and Domitian on the right. While that is a conventional numismatic placement for the two Caesares, here we see the figure on the left holding a parazonium an attribute of an imperator, which of the two could only be Titus. The reverse legend corresponds for this placement of the figures with the first half of the legend CAES AVG F DES for Domitian on the left, the second half IMP AVG F COS DES II for Titus on the right. The legend has caused confusion over the years with some numismatists creating the phantom title Designatus Imperator for Titus! The title COS is implied for Domitian after DES in the legend, a kind of numismatic shorthand if you will. Gunnar Seelentag cleared the matter up in Numismatic Chronicle, Vol 167 (2007). The reverse type itself is fairly rare with only a handful of specimens coming to market each decade. Flavian dynastic types are far more common in silver.

    This particular specimen has the added honour of having a distinguished old pedigree from the Fritz Reusing Collection. Reusing was a German portrait painter of the early 20th Century whose portraits included Richard Strauss, Igor Strawinsky, Max Planck, and Albert Einstein. I would like to think large imperial bronzes such as this one gave him inspiration. After Reusing's death his nephew Paul Schürer inherited and curated the collection.

    Fine portrait with dark brown and green patina.

    NB: Special thanks to Curtis Clay for provenance help.

    Also, the piece came with Reusing's old tag.


    Feel free to post your dynastic or old provenance coins!
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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  3. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    An amazing coin! Glad you snatched it up! Seems we all got a special visit from the postman today! Mine from the same collection just arrived as well...

    Laureate head right with Aegis

    Mars advancing left with Victory and trophy

    Rome, 85 AD


    RIC 387 (C)

    Holed in antiquity and plugged in the late 19th century?

    Ex-Manfred Olding 2019; Ex-Sammlung Heynen 1976;Ex-Paul Schürer (1890-1976); Ex-Fritz Reusing (1874-1956)

    Comes with old tag probably from Heynen or Schürer. Olding tag incorrectly attributed to RIC 420 (different ending to legend)
    Cucumbor, Jwt708, Andres2 and 27 others like this.
  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Wow David that is a great coin with a fantastic reverse. I love it! The terrific provenance is a very nice bonus. Congrats on adding this long sought after acquisition.
    David Atherton likes this.
  5. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Wow, another great coin! Congrats Jay on adding this one. I look forward to adding a few coins from the same provenance to my collection. They have shipped...now comes the wait.
    Jay GT4 likes this.
  6. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Thanks Jay! The sestertius actually arrived a few days ago, but I did receive two other Reusing coins yesterday which I will be posting soon.

    BTW, excellent Domitian!
  7. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    That is a lovely sestertius of Vespasian, David!
    Historically significant and aesthetically pleasing, and a nice provenance. What else can you as for? It is a type I would like to add to my collection as well.

    Here are two of mine with 'provenance':

    Vespasian, Sestertius, Lugdunum, 71,
    Obverse: laureate bust right, globe at point, imp caes vespasian avg p m tr p p p cos iii,
    Reverse: spqr p p ob cives servatos in four lines within oak-wreath, 23.93g (RIC 1137; BMC p.198; C 531).
    About very fine, chocolate-brown patina, rare;
    Provenance: Seaby List M228, July 1934 (17379)

    Thanks to the kind help of TIF and Meander I was able to complete the provenance as originally from the Münzhandlung Basel sale catalog #1, of June 1934 of the Prinz Waldeck collection of roman bronzes.
    Vespasian Sestertius wreath SPQR OBV1 N  - 1.jpg Vespasian Sestertius wreath SPQR REV1 N  - 1.jpg Vespasian Sesterz-Originally Prince Waldeck Collection sale 1934.jpg
    NLL, Ryro, Alegandron and 17 others like this.
  8. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  9. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Here is a dynastic aureus of Vespasian with his two sons riding horseback on the reverse. This makes Vespasian's intentions crystal clear.

    Next is an aureus of Claudius proclaiming Nero as next in line. It is still mysterious concerning all the factors contributing to his decision to gloss over his own son Britannicus in favor of Nero. Some historians say he wanted to spare Britannicus the hardships and perils of ruling (some success that achieved!); I thing rather it was Agrippina's enormous influence.

    Lastly, I am including a denarius of Octavius which is sort of a "retrospective" dynastic issue. He claims legitimacy to succession by claiming to be the son of a god.

    2rGYrGe6X8PpTc5SE35y4tQsF9tzgm.jpg oP9J2dEeG8fyQCp34jNsqg6Y5QbRBq.jpg m47270.jpg
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  10. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Fantastic! That's what makes this board so special.

    I was hoping to have similar answers about any earlier provenances for my sestertius, but alas, the coin came only with the collection's ticket and nothing more. I would love to know from where Reusing acquired it.
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  11. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Congrats DA.. You've got 3 in one. Three of the 12 Caesars in just one coin.
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  12. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    My above write-up indicated the numismatic mystery behind the reverse is settled. It is not and I would be remiss to leave out Curtis Clay's sound arguments for the opposite side. Here is a link to an old thread on Forvm in which he lays out his case. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=44488.0
    Orfew and Jay GT4 like this.
  13. Erhan

    Erhan Active Member

    Very nice coin. I have a similar coin and mine also comes from a 19th century collection.

    RIC 757, RSC 377, Very Fine, 27.1mm, 11.57 grams
    Obverse: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG aroundlaureate head of Vespasian to left
    Reverse: PON • MAX • TR • POT • P • P • COS V • CENS, around winged caduceus between two crossed cornucopias

    Ex: Hermann Joseph Lückger (1864–1951) collection.The coin comes with a ticket written in his hand.

    Hermann Joseph Lückgerwas a notable amateur numismatist from a distinguished family of collectors hailing back to his grandfather Johann Wilhelm Lückger (1752– 1827). He published numerous articles on Roman coins not yet published in his time.


  14. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

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  15. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Great score :jawdrop:! The coin has everything: historical importance, excellent provenance, fine portrait of Vespasian, & stunning patina ;).
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  16. Erhan

    Erhan Active Member

    Thanks @Jay GT4 I also love it has a similar patina and provenance to the OP coin. It is very hard to come by such provenances
  17. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Wonderful! A superb coin with a fascinating numismatic history and old pedigree.
    Erhan likes this.
  18. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    Here are two more of my Roman bronzes with provenance:

    This sestertius of Lucius Verus coin was sold a couple of years ago as part of the sale of the Lueckger Collection.

    As Erhan mention, Hermann Joseph Lueckger was a notable collector, and also an archeologist from Koeln, keenly interested in exploring the ERoman past of his native city Koeln, (Colonia Claudia Aggripenensium).

    I fell in love with this coin when I saw due top the impressive portrait.

    Lucius Verus-Original Photo - 1.jpg

    Hermann Joseph Lueckger - Koelner Numismatiker.png Lucius Verus Sestertius + Ticket Lüttgers 2 - 1.jpg Lucis Verus Sestertius-Mars-Obv - 1.jpg
  19. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    Another Bronze with Provenance, this one ex CNG, originally from the Messenger and Vermeule Collections, 1951.

    Galba Sestertius Victoria-Obv - 1_opt.jpg Galba Sestertius Victoria-Rev - 1_opt.jpg Galba sestertius Victoria - auction Messenger Vermeule 1951 ex CNG - 1.jpg
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  20. Erhan

    Erhan Active Member

    @Eduard Damn I love your coin! So sad that I missed that sale otherwise I would have got more of his collection coins. The one I got , was up for sale in VCoins . It's so hard to get a second chance to buy when you miss these type of well provenance coins.
    Eduard likes this.
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