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Domitian PONT Denarius: A Second Chance

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I once had an example of this extremely rare Domitian 'PONT' denarius variety but sold it to a fellow collector. @CPK recently acquired another example and documents the trial and tribulations of my former specimen quite well in his thread.


My latest example was listed on Vcoins. I don't know its provenance beyond that.*


AR Denarius, 3.35g
Rome mint, 81 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt
RIC 34 (R3). BMC -. BNC -. RSC -.
Acquired from Laurel Coins, October 2023. Ex Leu Web Auction 26, 8 July 2023, lot 7037 (part).

An early rare 'PONT' denarius struck from Domitian's 3rd denarius issue of 81. The abbreviation 'PONT' for Ponitfex Maximus must have come early in the sequence of titles Domitian employed on his denarii and likely was short lived if its rarity is any indication. The records of the Arval brothers do not show Domitian as Pontifex Maximus by 30 October, so presumably he acquired the title in either November or December. This reverse type from the 3rd group of 81 featuring a draped chair and thunderbolt is likely the pulvinar of Jupiter. Strangely enough TRP is absent from the legends, why this is so I cannot say. It's a puzzling mystery considering the first group of denarii indeed record it. This carry-over pulvinar type originally struck for Titus is perhaps connected to the religious ceremonies for the opening games of the Colosseum. Fourth known specimen (same dies), missing from all the major collections.

In hand.


I was pretty lucky to get a second chance at such a rare piece. As @CPK noted, only four specimens known!

Thanks for looking!

* Thanks to @CPK for additional provenance info!

Edited by David Atherton
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8 hours ago, CPK said:

Awesome! Glad you were able to find a replacement - with a crisp full obverse legend too, much better than mine. Congrats!

And a provenance to that famous "European collection" formed before 2005, no less. 😉 Surprised Leu didn't pick that one out!


(bottom row, second from left)

Thank you for providing the provenance from Leu! Indeed surprising Leu missed it, although the winner (presumably the VCoins seller) made out quite well!

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