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An Ordinary As With an Extraordinary Portrait

David Atherton

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Yes, I needed this variety of the type, but it was the stylish portrait that sealed the deal.




Æ As, 9.67g
Rome mint, 74 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESP AVG COS V CENS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: AEQVITAS AVGVST; S C in field; Aequitas stg. l., with scales and rod
RIC 720 (C). BMC 700. BNC 715.
Acquired from London Ancient Coins, April 2023.

Aequitas on Vespasian's coinage proclaims the honest administration of public finances and lapsed standards would be restored. Aequitas holding her scales and measuring rod was probably based on a cult image of the deity. The Aequitas type was quite common on the asses under Vespasian for all three Flavians. This specimen struck for Vespasian in 74 is rated as 'common' in RIC.


The video really shows off the portrait better than the photo.



Feel free to share your extraordinary portraits on 'ordinary' coins.

Thanks for looking!

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I always liked this portrait on a humble potin tetradrachm of Alexandria with a sensitively rendered Salonina, wife of Gallienus.


EGYPT, Alexandria

Billon Tetradrachm, 23mm, 9.8 grams, 12h Dated RY 15 (A.D. 267-268)

Obverse: KOPNHALA CAAONEINA CEB; Diademed and draped bust right.

Reverse: Eagle standing right, holding wreath in beak; palm in left field, L IE to right 

Reference: Koln 2983; Dattari 5346; Milne 4189; Curtis 1642; Emmett 3854 salonina1.jpg.f7e4ce2d7d7465ad15e43341941988ea.jpg


Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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I really like this portrait of Augustus after revealing it from under compacted, sooty material on obverse and reverse... So much so that it's my longtime avatar.


I've always liked this Domitian provicial portrait (especially relative to other examples I've seen)... Even captures his chin beard.


And I think this one of the young emperor is pretty nice.


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Maximus as Caesar, AD 235-238. Rome Mint. AE Sestertius: 20.63 gm, 31 mm, 12 h. RIC IV 13. 

This is a common sestertius with an unusually fine portrait.


Romano-Gallic Empire. Postumus, AD 260-269. Trier Mint, 3rd emission (AD 261). AE Sestertius: 25.49 gm, 31.5 mm, 6 h. RIC V 170.

This is also a very common sestertius but rarely seen well struck with a fine portrait.


Holy Roman Empire, Austria. Archduke Ferdinand II, 1564-1595. Hall Mint. AR Thaler: 28.20 gm, 40 mm, 12 h.

This is a common thaler that has been made with the early use roller dies, a vast improvement over the screw press. The portrait on this example is unusually fine & made from fresh dies.



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