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Unusual Commodus Caesar Denarius


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This unusual coin was acquired by me recently (picture is the seller’s):


Rev: HILARITAS  Hilaritas std. l.

20 mm, 3.34 g

Instead of the very common RIC 611 it has COMMODVS instead of COMMODO, which is unknown to me for any denarius of the GERM SARM issue.

In the previous (first) issue (GERM only) there are some scarcer denarii with COMMODVS CAES AVG FIL GERM instead of COMMODO (BMCRE 633 note, 634 (= RIC 598 corr) and 639 note). (Aurei only have COMMODO for both issues. Sestertii and asses have COMMODVS for the first and COMMODO for the second issue).

Is this a very good contemporary imitation? It seems quite genuine style-wise, but I find it hard to believe that this obverse die has gone unnoticed up to now.

Or have there been other examples of this variant that I have missed to find?


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Welcome to numisforums, Marcus!
The inscription is really special. I have RIC 611 in my collection and took a look at it to compare. To me, this looks like a reverse die match 🙂
I also quickly checked on Wildwinds and acsearch and couldn't find another example that is like yours either. My personal perception is that RIC 611 is quite a rare coin and not common - and maybe your coin is a very, very rare variant of RIC 611... 

I'm really no expert when it concerns die matches. I would state the following things (someone has to correct me if I'm wrong):
- Finding a die match is more likely for rare coins
- Apart from the very genuine looking style, this makes it even more unlikely that your coin is a contemporary imitation
- The obverse dies were usually replaced more often than the reverse dies, so we could speculate that maybe the obverse die of your coin might not have been in use for a long time

Edited by Salomons Cat
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Thank you for the comparison to your coin, the dies seem indeed quite similar. And good to know that I might have been seeing ghosts here...

You are right that RIC 611 is not a common denarius in general - only when looking at Commodus Caesar in isolation (which is one of my focus areas) it's one of the more often occurring ones. 

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