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Coins of Vespasian from Ephesus

In an earlier post (Sept 15, 2020), I shared two Roman Imperial denarii of Vespasian from Ephesus. I have since added two more of these coins which I enjoy for their unusual portrait style and links to the early reign of Vespasian.

The first with a reverse female portrait with turreted crown who looks like she could be Vespasian's sister. This coin is also interesting as it dates from the transition of power that took place in AD 69. These period of transition were often challenging times for the Roman empire and portraits on coins often get confused between rulers. The portrait on this coin without the legend is not so obviously Vespasian.

Vespasian (AD 69-79), AR denarius, Ephesus, July-December 69, die axis 6 o'clock

Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG, laureate head of Vespasian right

Rev: PACI ORB — TERR AVG, turreted and draped female bust right, no mintmark below

Size: 15-18mm, 2.86g

Ref: RIC 1397 (or maybe 1407 if there is a symbol there)

Note: Seeing 2 die matches (this double die match and this obverse die match) I am fairly confident that there is "no mint mark" on this coin.

In RIC 2 these are described as provincial coins rather than military mint because the coins continue to be minted into AD 70. Mucianus, governor of Syria in AD 67, played a role in promoting Vespasian to emperor. Mucianus from a noble family was initially not a fan of Vespasian, a tough commander with little family pedigree, however he came to respect him. Both were supporters of Otho and joined forces in AD 69 as Vitellius took control of Rome. This coin was minted in Ephesus and the mint possibly started up as Mucianus moved westward against Vitellius and Vespasian took control of Egypt and set up headquarters in Alexandria.

Vitellius, 69 AD, AR denarius (17 mm, 2.62g, 6 h), Rome, late April-20 December 69.

Obv: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head of Vitellius to right

Rev: XV VIR SACR FAC, tripod with covered vessel; above, dolphin to right; between tripod legs, raven standing right

Ref: BMC 39. Cohen 111. RIC 109

The second coin is from a couple of years later and shows Vespasians sons on the reverse as he uses the coin to set expectations of Flavian dynasty.

Vespasian, 69-79 AD, AR denarius, Ephesus mint, 71 AD

Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P< Laureate head right

Rev: LIBERI IMP AVG VESPAS, Titus and Domitian, each veiled, togate and holding a patera, standing facing heads left, EPE in exergue

Ref: RIC II 1430 (Group 6)

Here are the two most recent coins - both difficult coins to find:

Vespasian (69-79), AR denarius, minted AD 70 in Ephesus

Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P, laureate head right.

Rev: AVG within wreath; Φ between wreath ties.

Vespasian (AD 69-79), AR denarius, minted AD 69-70 Ephesus mint

Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG, laureate head right

Rev: CONCORDIA AVG, Ceres seated left on throne, holding grain ears, poppy, and cornucopiae; Φ in exergue

Vespasian AR Denarius. Ephesus, AD 71

Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P, laureate head to right

Rev: [PACI] AVGVSTAE, Victory advancing to right, holding wreath and palm; EPHE (ligate) in right field

Ref: RIC II 1431; RPC II 833; BMCRE 457; RSC 276. 3.44g, 16mm, 12h.

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