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A Personal Grail Obtained!

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I've been after this Domitian denarius variety for many years. For one reason or another it has always managed to slip just out of reach ... not forgetting they are notoriously hard to attribute from photos alone since old dies were often re engraved with an additional numeral squeezed in between the legend. Although this may be considered a minor 'grail', it was so satisfying to finally acquire one of these elusive specimens! It now completes this very rare denarius issue in my collection.


AR Denarius, 3.16g
Rome mint, 92 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P; Minverva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
RIC 736 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Ex Tater's Relics, eBay, 14 February 2024.

Domitian struck the same series of four Minerva types for his denarii regularly every year from 83 onwards. Some issues are more rare than others - a few are very rare. This coin is from a very rare issue struck towards the end of summer 92 and can be dated by the TR P XI and IMP XXII, an exceedingly rare combination. This series commemorating his 22nd imperial acclamation was most likely awarded for a victory against the Sarmatians and Suevi near the end of the campaigning season just before he became TR P XII on 14th September. The rarity of this dating combination indicates how tight the window was for this issue's production. Struck in such haste, the second 'I' in the imperial acclamation date is often squeezed in on the reused dies from the previous issue (as is the case with the present coin). Missing from both the BM and Paris collections.

In hand.


Thank you for looking!

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19 minutes ago, David Atherton said:

I love your term 'sleeper rarity', suits it rather well.

What makes it really apt is that the die engravers didn't even cut a new die, they just sneaked that extra 'I' in between the existing reverse legend!

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