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Flavian Grail: Titus IVD CAP

David Atherton

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Recently, I was quite thrilled to finally land a Rome mint variant of Titus's famous IVD CAP sestertius. Previously I had acquired a Thracian mint specimen, but the Rome mint ones eluded me ... until now. Needless to say I'm very pleased to share this iconic coin here.




Æ Sestertius, 25.80g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: IVD CAP across field; S C in exergue; Palm tree; to l., Judaea std. l. on arms; to r., Captive stg. r., looking back
RIC 149 (C). BMC 165. BNC 157. Hendin 1592.
Ex Bertolami E-Live Auction 236, 24-25 September 2022, lot 800.

The Jewish War was a gift that kept on giving for the Flavian dynasty. This rare Judaea Capta commemorative sestertius was struck a decade after the fall of Jerusalem for Titus as Augustus. The new emperor wished to remind the Roman populace of his military bona fides and his part in the Jewish War. This later variant of the type differs from those stuck under Vespasian by the shortened reverse legend (IVD CAP instead of IVDAEA CAPTA) and the presence of an oblong shield or yoke(?) to the right of the standing captive. COS VIII dates the coin to either 80 or 81, although it's possible the IVD CAP types were struck in 80 to coincide with the opening of the massive Flavian Amphitheater. A recently discovered dedicatory inscription of the building states "The Emperor Titus Caesar Vespasian Augustus Commanded the New Amphitheater to be Built from the Spoils of War." Combined with the original decoration scheme of palm trees, shields, and captives it is compelling evidence the IVD CAP coins were issued during the structure's inaugural games in the late spring or early summer of 80.


I'd love to see your personal 'grail' coins.

Thanks for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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Public Service Announcement: Be very careful when purchasing these Titus IVD CAP sestertii from less than reputable sources (eBay). They are commonly faked and if genuine likely tooled and/or smoothed.

For example, this fake was on eBay in 2020.




Another is listed in Forvm's fake gallery.



The first is a cast from genuine dies (http://numismatics.org/collection/1944.100.41795), the second is from modern dies.

Caveat emptor!

Edited by David Atherton
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