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Unpublished and Unique Titus Caesar Denarius

David Atherton

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It took a bit of detective work to figure this one out. Die matching this coin with a specimen from my own collection was the eureka moment. It's always a great feeling making a new discovery!



Titus as Caesar [Vespasian] 

AR Denarius, 2.78g
Ephesus mint, 71 AD  
Obv: IMPERATOR T CAESAR AVGVSTI F; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: AVG in oak-wreath, no mint mark
Cf. RIC 1426(5A)4/1426(5A)1. BMC -. RSC -. RPC -. BNC -.
Acquired from André Cichos, September 2023. Ex Olympus Numismatik Auction 2, 2 April 2023, lot 271.

A unique and unpublished Titus Caesar AVG in oak wreath denarius from Ephesus struck without a mintmark. This reverse type was previously only attested for the no mintmark issue from an extremely rare Vespasian denarius (recorded in the Addenda as RIC 1426(5A)1). The Ephesian denarius issues struck under Vespasian all have mintmarks, save for the first issue and this tiny issue dated COS III, which is not represented in the new RIC II.1. Ted Buttrey wrote in the RIC II Addenda the following concerning the no mintmark issue: 

'I’m not terribly happy about this. It’s a convenient way to draw together several pieces which lack the mintmark, placing them after the completion of the ΘΙ and ΘΥ Groups 3-5 and the inception of Group 6 with ΕΡΗ. But why should they have given up on a mintmark in mid-course, when all of Groups 2-9 are marked? The choices are – (i) mintmark on coins worn away; (ii) engraver forgot to add mintmark to the dies; (iii) issue deliberately produced without mintmark. Assuming (iii) for the moment, the new Group takes the place of fnn. 46-47, pp.162-3, and fits here nicely with V’s title for Groups 5-6, and T’s for Group 6, But I have no fixed opinion, and await the appearance of others of this variety.'

I lean towards iii being the likeliest option - if accidental, why do we not see no mintmarks specimens throughout the series? Why are they only dated COS III? IMHO, the likeliest explanation is the no mintmark denarii were deliberately struck, albeit rather briefly (perhaps only for a few days), prior to or just after the COS III ΘΥ issue and before the much larger EPH issue was struck.

In hand.


NB: The coin shares an obverse die with my RIC 1426(5A)4 denarius: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=66543


As always, thank you for looking!


Edited by David Atherton
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Awesome find David, what an amazing thing to identify an unpublished coin and an even bigger thrill to use your existing collection to do so. She is also beautiful in hand a lovely coin I'd be happy to own myself. The research skills of you all is a bit intimidating honestly! But I love it you guys are the best I learn something new every day here.

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