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Titus Æ Eastern Eagle

David Atherton

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It's always a pleasure to obtain one of these intriguing Eastern imperial bronzes struck late in Vespasian's reign. They are rare and quite stylish. It seems there are more of these entering into trade now than ever before.



Titus as Caesar [Vespasian]

Æ25, 6.67g
Ephesus (?) mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: T CAESAR IMPER PONT; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR POT COS VI CENSOR; S C in exergue; Eagle stg. l. on thunderbolt, head r.
RIC 1511 (R). BMC p. 221 ‡. BNC 893. RPC 1480 (3 spec.).
Ex Bucephalus 15, 11 February 2023, lot 662.

Late in Vespasian's reign a rare series of orichalcum bronze coins were struck in Asia Minor at an unknown mint. Although imperial in appearance, the style, weight system, and metal used all point to a mint other than Rome. Due to their extreme rarity today, they could not have been struck for any great length of time (the date cannot be narrowed down any further than Vespasian's COS VIII, 77-78 AD). The types consist of ones variously copied from either Rome or local provincial issues (such as this Syrian inspired eagle on thunderbolt). A stylistic similarity with the earlier 'o' mint denarii possibly struck at Ephesus has been noted by both RIC and RPC. Admittedly, the link to the infamous 'o' mint is tenuous at best, but it is the most sound theory proposed so far (M. Grant, 'Asses of Orichalcum', Centennial Publication of the American Numismatic Study, pp. 285-302). Further, metal analyses by Carradice and Cowell (The minting of Roman Imperial Bronze Coins for Circulation in the East: Vespasian to Trajan, NC 147, pp. 26-50) strongly supports an Asia Minor origin for the issue.



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Edited by David Atherton
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