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An Alexandrian Dolphin

David Atherton

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This is not a type you come across everyday! Not in high grade, but the rarity of the piece allows me to be very forgiving.




Æ Obol, 4.03g
Alexandria mint, 92-93 AD
Obv: ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΔΟΜΙΤ ϹƐΒ ΓƐΡΜ; Head of Domitian, laureate, l.
Rev: LΙB; Dolphin coiled round anchor
RPC 2693 (0 spec.). Emmett 308.12f. Dattari-Savio -.
Acquired from Marc Breitsprecher, December 2022.

An extremely scarce Alexandrian obol from Domitian's regnal year 12. The dolphin is the totem animal of Poseidon and likely can be viewed in that context here. Although, one cannot help but be reminded of an identical dolphin and anchor pulvinar type struck previously by Titus and Domitian between 80-82
at Rome on the denarius.

Surprisingly missing from the Dattari collection.


For comparison, here is a Rome mint example of the dolphin and anchor type struck over a decade before for Domitian.




AR Denarius, 2.62g
Rome mint, 81 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P; Dolphin coiled round anchor
RIC 52 (R2). BMC p. 299, ||. RSC -. BNC -.
Ex Lanz (eBay), February 2017.


As always, thank you for looking!



Edited by David Atherton
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Great coin, David!

I’ve a Flavian dolphin which also happens to be my one and only Titus. I was saving this one for@CPK’s excellent “Emperors of Rome - A (Chronological) Portrait Gallery” but I suppose it won’t hurt to post it twice 🤨 — or, maybe I need to shop for another Titus 🙂.


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