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An Obverse Coin Die That Has Been Misattributed by Several Dealers

David Atherton

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I can't blame the seller for the misattribution of this Domitian Caesar dupondius, apparently it's a pretty common mistake. This specimen, and its shared obverse die counterparts, has routinely been misattributed as 'COS II' or sometimes 'COS III' by various prestigious auction houses and dealers over the years. Instead, what we have here is a rare 'COS IV' variety!


Domitian as Caesar [Vespasian]
Æ Dupondius, 13.42g
Rome mint, 76-77 AD
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIAN COS IV; Bust of Domitian, laureate, draped, bearded, r.
Rev: FELICITAS PVBLICA; S C in field; Felicitas stg. l., with caduceus and cornucopiae
RIC 928 (R2). BMC -. BNC -.
Acquired from Aegean, January 2024. Ex Ephesus Numismatics.

Domitian as Caesar's dupondii under Vespasian are typically laureate instead of radiate and can be differentiated from the asses by the draped busts and metal content (yellowish orichalcum). The Felicitas on the reverse symbolises the prosperity and abundance the Flavian dynasty has brought to the empire. This rare variety with the COS date rendered as 'IV' instead of the much more commonly seen 'IIII' is missing from both the BM and Paris collections. RIC cites only 2 examples - one from a 1980 Lanz sale, the other from a private collection. An obverse die match with the RIC plate coin.

In hand.


Thank you for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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