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Vespasian Sestertius With a Fantastic Portrait and Provenance

David Atherton

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Sometimes things come together to make a coin interesting on multiple levels. Happily, my latest has a few things going for it: rarity, style, and provenance. What more could you ask for?





Æ Sestertius, 25.44g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M T P P P COS III; Bust of Vespasian, laureate, draped, l.
Rev: S C in field; Mars adv. r., with trophy and spear
RIC 115 (R2). BMC -. BNC 541. 
Ex Harlan J Berk BBS 225, 30 November 2023, lot 8. EX Curtis Clay Collection. Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, March 2019 = Olding List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 139. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), acquired from the Heynen Collection; inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

A fantastically rare variety from Vespasian's first issue of 71 featuring an obverse left facing draped bust. RIC describes many of the sestertii from this issue as 'monumental', likely owing to the fine style, large flans, and ornate busts. Missing from the BM. 

This particular specimen has the added honour of a distinguished old pedigree from the Fritz Reusing Collection. Reusing was a German portrait painter of the early 20th Century whose portraits included Richard Strauss, Igor Strawinsky, Max Planck, and Albert Einstein. I would like to think large imperial bronzes such as this one gave him inspiration. After Reusing's death his nephew Paul Schürer inherited and curated the collection.

In hand.


I'm curious to see your coins with neat provenances. Please share!

As always, thank you for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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