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A Scarce Spanish Bronze

David Atherton

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The Spanish bronzes struck for Vespasian early in his reign have a unique style I find very appealing. Unfortunately they are super rare and not often seen in trade. Luckily, I came across this one featuring a stylish early portrait on eBay recently.




Æ As, 9.52g
Tarraco(?) mint, 70 AD
IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M TR P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: S C in field; IMP V P P COS II DESIG III FORT RED; Fortuna, draped, standing l.,setting r. hand on prow and holding cornucopiae in l. hand
RIC 1337 (R). BMC spec. acquired 1989. BNC -.
Acquired from eBay, June 2022.

Spain declared for Vespasian late in 69 after the second battle of Cremona in October. Spanish mints immediately began striking coinage in all metals for Vespasian, with perhaps Tarraco being the main mint of the province. The early aes coinage copies many of the reverse designs seen on the precious metals at Rome, as is the case with this Fortuna type. All the coins from the issue are quite rare indicating they were not struck for any length of time, perhaps only to address a shortage of bronze coinage in the region. This as additionally has an unusual and extremely rare variant reverse legend. Missing from the Paris collection.

Feel free to post your Spanish beauties!

Thanks for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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@David Atherton...Nice coin!.

Love the way the details zing out from the darkly toned fields.

Thanks for the little write up, interesting. 


Spain, Bolskan (Osca). Circa 150-100 BC. AE Unit (10.35 gm, 24mm).
Obverse: Bearded head right; dolphin behind.
Reverse: "BOLSKAN" in Celt-Iberian in exergue, rider on horse right, holding spear; star behind.
CNH 8; SNG BM Spain 734; SNG Copenhagen 325.

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