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A $30 eBay Vespasian

David Atherton

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I think I made out OK with this cheap eBay transaction ... a R2 (extremely rare) Vespasian dupondius from Lugdunum for the price of a decent lunch. Fuzzy photos and misattribution helped.




Æ Dupondius, 12.53g
Lyon mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS VIII P P; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: FORTVNAE REDVCI; S C in field; Fortuna stg. l., with rudder on globe and cornucopiae
RIC 1218 (R2). BMC 836. BNC -.
Acquired from eBay, October 2022.

A possible shortage of bronze coinage in the Western provinces late in Vespasian's reign likely prompted the Lugdunum mint to temporarily reopen in 77-78 and strike a fairly substantial issue of coinage. The reverses are standard types copied from Rome. This common Fortuna REDVCI reverse featuring her with a steady hand steering the rudder of the world was a familiar propaganda type both at Rome and Lugdunum that continued to commemorated the safe return of Vespasian and Titus from the East at the beginning of the reign. Most of the dupondii from this issue are seen with a laureate portrait. This specimen is an example of the exceedingly rare radiate right portrait variant. Missing from the Paris collection.

Admittedly, the coin is not going to win any beauty contests ... but I'm very pleased with this worn and beat up piece.

Feel free to post your cheap rarities.

Thanks for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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It's always fun as a specialist to acquire an unappreciated rarity. Congratulations, @David Atherton!

This coin may not be beautiful in the typical sense, but it's beautiful to me because of its rarity. Believe it or not, it's structurally sound despite the flan crack.

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman AR denarius, 3.17 g, 17.4 mm, 7 h.
Rome, AD 143.
Obv: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: PIETAS AVGVSTI, hexastyle temple on stepped podium, above, a quadriga, Victories as acroteria.
Refs: RIC –; BMCRE 322-323; Cohen –; RSC 253b; Strack –; RCV –;CRE 130.
Note: Extremely rare; known specimens limited to the two in the British Museum collection, a specimen in the ANS collection (ANS 1956.127.574), and one in a private Ukrainian collection (CRE 130). This coin is a double die-match to BMCRE 323 and to the ANS specimen.

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Great eye David, as always!

Sometimes when it comes to extreme rarities you have to take what you can get.  This one arrived today and was an absolute bargain!



Laureate head right

Pax standing left with branch and cornucopiae


1 July 72-June 30, 73 CE


RIC 496 (R3)

An extremely rare coin not illustrated in the RIC plates, only citing one example in the Museo Nazionale Roma. None on acsearch or in Forum's galleries. Dare I say second known example? The entire series from 72 is very rare, this perhaps being the rarest.


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Congratulations on all of these!

...Um, please don't throw anything too ripe, but if you go back far enough, French ebay was a gold mine for earlier medievals.  People would routinely list stuff with no attempt at attribution.  That was good for the spine of my French feudal collection.  More recently, on Delcampe, but also unattributed as the driven snow, I found this. (Sorry for the huge pictures.)


France, Hugh Capet (987-996).  Denier, coissued with Bishop Herve of Beauvais (987-998).  Symptomizing how compromised the Capetian dynasty was from its onset, having direct control only over a narrow demesne, ranging from Paris to Orleans.

Obv.  (From 11 o'clock:) HER\EVS HVGO REX.


Rev.  Degraded 'KAROLVS' monogram; (from 11 o'clock, again:) BELVACVS CIVITAS.  Duplessy, Royales pp. 25-6, no. 1.  

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Ah, the good old days. Back when Old Roman Coins was selling bits of the Goodman Collection. Not a perfect coin, but pleasant for $40.

Roman Republic. Anonymous. Circa 86 BC. Æ Quadrans (17mm, 4.28g, 5h). Rome mint. Obv: Head of Hercules right, wearing lion's skin headdress; ••• (mark of value) behind, club below. Rev: Prow of galley left; RO[MA] above, ••• (mark of value) to right. Ref: Crawford 350b/3a; Sydenham 679c; Type as RBW 1344. Very Fine, brown surfaces reverse off center. Ex-Goodman collection, with ticket. Notes from Andrew McCabe Collection: Very Rare. Classification of lightweight quadrantes of the first century BC is especially difficult, because they are the same weight as the lightweight quadrantes of the late third century BC and often found overstruck on Carthaginian types in Sardinia. This is definitely first century BC as evidenced by the prow style that exactly matches the VER GAR OGVL issue and other fractions of this issue. Clive Stannard and I have discussed quadrantes of this specific style; it is his view that their prevalence in riverine finds on the Lazio-Campania border indicates they were locally produced in the south, whereas the close match with the characteristics of the RRC 350 issue inclines me to think they are official issues. [A. McCabe].


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I went to a coin show today and got these two for $10. Pretty solid deal. Had a lot of fun got to talk with collectors who have been doing this for 40+ years. I like this Marcus Aurelius dupondis because despite it being worn it has a great portrait and patina. It depicts German captives on the reverse. The other coin is a mystery I think it's Ancient Indian, it's okay, I don't like how super off center it is but it could be worth more than $5 so I bit the bullet. The guy had great prices. I even saw a nice galba denarius for $75 but I didn't want to overspend. 





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Terif, @Armarmur!  ...Although I probably would've nabbed the Galba --and it's not even my field.  The Indian one is, Yep, Western Satraps; this very late example is the first listing I could find, but it cites a reference on the whole series.  --Several people here know orders of magnitude more about this stuff than I do.


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