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A Scarce Spanish Vespasian As

David Atherton

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I recently added yet another ex Curtis Clay coin to the collection. This one is a doggedly rare Spanish issue, notably cited by RIC.




Æ As, 6.39g
Tarraco (?) mint, 70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG P M TR P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: COS ITER TR POT; S C in field; Aequitas stg. l. with scales and rod
RIC 1335 (R2, this coin cited). BMC -. BNC -.
Ex Harlan J Berk BBS 225, 30 November 2023, lot 86. Ex Curtis Clay Collection. Ex Antioch Associates BBS 40, 29 July 2002, lot 109.

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 primary mint of the province. The early aes coinage copied many of the reverse designs seen on the precious metals at Rome, as is the case with this Aequitas 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 specimen is cited in RIC from the Clay collection.


In hand.


These Flavian Spanish issues are extremely rare in trade and missing from most major collections. I was very pleased to have picked this one up!

Here's a contemporaneous Rome mint denarius featuring the same reverse type and legend. https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=135673

As always, thank you for looking.

Edited by David Atherton
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9 hours ago, CPK said:

Were the Spanish-issued AEs for Vespasian typically underweight, or do you think this one is an outlier? 

It's definitely on the lower end. I have another Spanish as that weighs nearly 12g! Weight standards must've been lacking at Tarraco.

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