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Revisting the Collection: Titus Reverse Brockage Denarius

David Atherton

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This week in my 'Revisiting the Collection' series I would like to share one of my favourite error coins of all time. It made my Top Ten list last year.





AR Denarius, 2.55g
Rome mint, 79 AD
Obv: Incuse; Same type as rev.
Rev: TR P VIIII IMP XV COS VII P P; Quadriga l., with corn ears
RIC 43 (R). BMC 34. RSC 293. BNC 30.
Acquired from delcampe, February 2022. Ex Jean Elsen & ses Fils S.A. Auction 86, 10 December 2005, lot 256.

From David Vagi's Coinage and History of the Roman Empire: 'A "brockage" striking occurs when a coin that is already struck adheres to one of the coin dies (usually to the reverse die, which is held in the minter's hand) and is not removed before another fresh planchet is placed between the dies. The result is that a fresh planchet receives the normal image from the clear die, and an incused impression of that very same design from the coin that is stuck to the opposite die. This is a relatively common error on denarii of the Roman Republic, and is perhaps the most dramatic of all errors found on ancient coins. Only very rarely will a brockage feature the reverse design.'

Struck after 1 July 79 AD, this Titus brockage denarius was surprisingly produced during a time of excellent quality control at the mint of Rome. Unlike an obverse brockage, a reverse brockage allows for easier cataloguing since the specific reverse type is known. The minor wear indicates the piece freely circulated and was accepted as normal currency. J. P. Goddard estimates that up to 4% of Roman Republican denarii were brockages! That number is significantly diminished during the Flavian era.

The normal variant of this quadriga type is fairly rare on its own. Needless to say I was quite astonished to find one as a reverse brockage! An utterly fascinating unique coin.


In hand.



As always, thanks for looking/watching!

Edited by David Atherton
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