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A Worn 'One of a Kind'

David Atherton

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Yet another cheap Eastern bronze I recently won at auction (there seems to be a plethora of them lately!). This one has the added distinction of being so far unique. Not bad for $25!




Æ21, 3.31g
Ephesus (?) mint, 77-78 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVGVST; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: PON MAX TR P P P COS VIII CENS; S C; Victory adv. l., holding wreath and palm
RIC 1506 var. BMC -. BNC -. RPC 1479 var.
Ex Bucephalus 16, 24-25 February 2023, lot 912.

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. A stylistic similarity with the earlier 'o' mint denarii possibly struck at Ephesus has been noted by both RIC and RPC. Here we have a unique left facing portrait variety of the Victory type with 'AVGVST' instead of 'AVG' in the obverse legend. No specimens recorded in RPC or the RIC II.1 Addenda.


I think the video shows the faint highlights better than the photo. The key to this being unique is the unmistakable reading of the obv. legend ending in 'AVGVST' rather than 'AVG' (lower right), which the video shows clearly.



Thanks for looking/watching!

Edited by David Atherton
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