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A Big Chunky Domitian Sestertius

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I'm never disappointed when receiving a Domitian bronze ... especially his early ones, which can be quite pleasing in hand (the video shows this aspect off better).



Æ Sestertius, 26.73g
Rome mint, 82 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DIVI VESP F DOMITIAN AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: TR P COS VIII DES VIIII P P; S C in field; Minerva stg. l., with spear
RIC 105 (C2). BMC 274. BNC 285.
Acquired from Classic World Coins, February 2024.

Minerva's prominence on Domitian's coinage first showed up on his early bronzes produced in 81-82 before she dominated his denarii. While Domitian's initial denarius output is dominated by the carry-over pulvinar types from Titus, his first two issues of sestertii have a more personal touch with the reverses featuring his patron deity. This common sestertius struck in early 82, just prior to the mint's overhaul later the same year, demonstrates that the finest engravers were not just reserved for Domitian's aurei. A superb portrait and fine reverse.

In hand.


Thanks for looking!


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The two sestertii sitting closest to me (a Gordian and a Lucilla) weigh 22 and 20g respectively, and the 17g Tetradrachm is a nice coin, but nothing quite like a 26g Domitian Sestertius.  Congrats on your latest addition. @dougsmit's web page on die matches, mentions how dies and portraits become familiar over time..

"The single most powerful tool in recognizing die matches is a familiarity the student develops with the coins being studied. Known dies become familiar 'faces' and require only confirmation by checking the minor points."

-Doug Smith, Die Identification Techniques

Do you have a favorite die or portrait for Domitian?

Edited by Sulla80
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Sulla80 said:

image.png.d5fafd1a6c80109e452bf74ca5baf94b.pngDo you have a favorite die or portrait for Domitian?

Probably this one as Caesar under Titus. 


They really don't come much better than that. I think it's no accident it's provenanced to a portrait painter.

Edited by David Atherton
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It is a really nice coin.  Yes, the coin has a really fantastic portrait, especially from the early ones. The ones I mainly collect are the later, idealized ones.

I forget where it was, probably Forum, but someone once posted a statue from Anatolia depicting what he really looked like.  I'm no Fabio myself, but I can see why he idealized the portraits if that giant statue was true.

The size would also help further appreciate coins like this. The bigger, the better.

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this worn sestertius of Domitian is very chunky at 30.75g



 Domitian, 81 - 96 AD
AE Sestertius, Rome Mint, 35mm, 30.75 grams
Obverse: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GER M COS XIII CENS PER P P, Laureate head of Domitian right.
Reverse: IOVI VICTORI S C, Jupiter seated left holding Victory and scepter.

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