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Like Father, Like Son


David Atherton

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The Flavian denarii struck at the mystery 'o' mint in Asia Minor are extremely coveted by collectors. The series is riddled with mint mules - none more unlikely than this Domitian Caesar PRINCEPS IVVENTVT Spes type struck for Vespasian. I am very pleased to share it here!

 

 

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Vespasian Mule
AR Denarius, 3.06g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r., 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVT; Spes, draped, advancing l., holding up flower in r. hand and with l. holding up her skirt.
RIC 1479 (R2). BMC 492. BNC -. RPC 1455 (2 spec.). RSC 393a.
Ex Harlan J Berk, MBS 224, lot 124. Ex Curtis Clay Collection.

A mysterious eastern mint struck a spate of denarii in 76 which copied many contemporary types from Rome, such as this common Rome mint Spes. Both RIC and RPC speculate the mint possibly could be Ephesus, citing a similar style with a previous Ephesian issue from 74 and the use of an annulet as a mint mark. The issue is extremely rare. This denarius is a mint mule erroneously combining a Domitian Caeasar Spes reverse with a Vespasian obverse. Mules, muddled titles (PRINCEPS IVVENTVT for Vespasian!), and various reverse types mixed between Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian are hallmarks of the series. These 'o' mint denarii are often confused with the issues from Rome, however, they can be distinguished by their superior style, large portraits, and an annulet (if visible) below the bust. Missing from the Paris collection.

 

Stunning in hand.

 

Here is the Spes reverse properly matched with Domitian Caesar.

 

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Domitian as Caesar [Vespasian]
AR Denarius, 2.82g
Ephesus (?) mint, 76 AD
Obv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., 'o' mint mark below neck
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVT; Spes, draped, advancing l., holding up flower in r. hand and with l. holding up her skirt.
RIC 1489 (R2). BMC 481. BNC -. RPC 1462 (1 spec.). RSC 575a.
Acquired from eBay, April 2022.

As always, thank you for looking/watching!

Edited by David Atherton
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