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The Muleteer's Mule

David Atherton

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Before Vespasian rose to the purple it was reputed he tried his hand at commerce, dealing in cattle and slaves earning him the nickname 'muleteer'. Somewhat fittingly, my latest coin is a mule (an official hybrid).




Æ Quadrans, 2.71g
Rome mint, 74 AD
Obv: IMP VESP AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: VESP•PON•TR•P; Winged caduceus
RIC 1571 (R2). BMC -. BNC -. RPC 1990 (0 spec.).
Acquired from Variana Coins, February 2023.

A mule from the Rome mint's 'Eastern series' combining a Vespasian obverse with a reverse intended for Titus Caesar (Note 'VESP' occurs in both the obverse and reverse legends!). Although very rare, a Sufficient number of these mules survived antiquity to warrant its own RIC catalogue number. Traditionally the issue has been attributed to various Eastern mints, however, recent scholarship has shown that it was produced in Rome. Style, die axis, metal, and circulation pattern all point to a Western coinage, despite the 'Eastern' flavour of the reverse designs. T. Buttrey in the RIC II.1 Addenda wrote: 'There is nothing like this series in the whole of Roman imperial coinage. It is a deliberate act of Orientalism, imposing the flavour of the East on a Western coinage'.


Here it is 'in hand'.


Again, thank you for looking/watching!

Edited by David Atherton
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