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Vespasian and Galba Share a Die

David Atherton

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Another recent addition that I was thrilled to receive! Vespasian's sestertii from early 71 are quite rare - even more so with a reverse die recycled from Galba's reign!




Æ Sestertius, 26.55g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M T P P P COS III; Bust of Vespasian, laureate, draped, r.
Rev: SALVS AVGVSTA; S C in exergue; Salus std. l., with patera and sceptre
RIC 111 (R2). BMC -. BNC -.

Ex Harlan J Berk BBS 225, 30 November 2023,, lot 7. Ex Curtis Clay Collection. Ex Tom Cederlind.

An extremely rare sestertius struck for Vespasian between January and March 71. Curtis Clay had this to say about the piece which I cannot improve upon:

'Kraay in his illuminating Oxford dissertation, summarized in the new RIC, p. 22, established that Vespasian's sestertii of 71 (COS III) fall into three successive groups marked by progressive abbreviations of the emperor's name, and he suggested the following dates for the groups: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M T P P P COS III: Jan.-March/April 71; Same but VESPASIAN and TR P for T P: March/April-July/August 71; Same but VESPAS: July/August-Dec. 71. The reverse SALVS AVGVSTA S C occurs mainly in the third and latest issue of the year. In the earlier groups this type is very rare. Obv. VESPASIANVS, with bust laureate and draped; the bust types and portrait features are much more varied in this early group than in the two later ones. Rev. SALVS AVGVSTA S C, from the only die known for this type in the VESPASIANVS issue. Kraay discovered that this is actually a rev. die of Galba's, engraved and used by Galba in 68 (Kraay's P 61), now reused by Vespasian about 2 1/2 years later!'

An utterly fantastic piece! RIC describes many of the sestertii from this issue as 'monumental', I think the above coin fits that description perfectly. Missing from the BM and Paris collections.


In hand.


Do you have a coin that spans two reigns? I would love to see it.

As always, thank you for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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14 hours ago, CPK said:

What an interesting piece of history! And the coin itself is beautiful too. Congratulations on the very rare acquisition!

Thanks for the kind words!

NB: Your thread on the JC dream coin helped inspire me to finally snag mine. Stay tuned ...

Edited by David Atherton
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9 hours ago, Curtisimo said:

Wonderful coin David. I can just imagine the mint worker that was tasked with cutting a new die eyeballing the old Galba dies in the trash bin and thinking… “no one will ever know.”

…2000 years later…

Curtis Clay: “gotcha!”

One does wonder where that old die was stored in the 2 + years between it being struck under Galba and later under Vespasian. Did the mint have a 'library' of old dies and reverse types?

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There's an interesting AVGG clasping-hands Antioch aureus who's die appears to have been reused after an interval of 10 years!

RIC VI Antioch 16 for Constantius I as caesar c. 299-301 AD (oddly very light - 4.45g solidus weight vs the expected aureus weight)


RIC VI Antioch 126 c. 310 AD for Constantine I as augustus (+ presumbaly Maximinus II, the other AVG who controlled the mint)

I'd love to see a picture of either coin if anyone has one. RIC 16 footnotes has some auction references, but nothing available on rNumis.


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52 minutes ago, Ocatarinetabellatchitchix said:

Wow. Pretty cool coin. I think you’re gonna like those two reverses too:


And for the world record, same dies for three Emperors:




Amazing! Thank you for sharing the pictures, I tried finding them myself but came up empty. Such an interesting link, not just numismatically but also historically.

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