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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
1910255
191, Lot: 255. Estimate $150.
Sold for $207. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Divus Titus. Died AD 81. AR Antoninianus (22mm, 3.80 g, 6h). Rome mint. Commemorative issue struck under Trajan Decius, AD 250/1. Radiate head right / Eagle standing right, head left, with wings spread. RIC IV 81a (Trajan Decius); RSC 404. VF, toned, a little rough.


From the J. S. Wagner Collection.

When Decius became emperor shortly after the millennium of Rome, he attempted to garner support by restoring the traditional Roman religion. However, by this time the old Roman pantheon was no longer in vogue. Therefore, Decius issued a series of coins commemorating deified emperors. The list of rulers commemorated (eleven in all) falls short of the total then consecrated and there is no explanation as to why the series lacks such figures as the deified Julius Caesar, Claudius, Lucius Verus, Pertinax or Caracalla. To further confuse matters, the series includes Severus Alexander, an emperor who was never deified and whose appearance thus remains an enigma.

In RIC IV, Mattingly rather unconvincingly attributed the 'Divus' types struck under Decius to the mint at Milan. Via a study of die-linkage using British Museum specimens as well as examples that have appeared in various auctions over the years, K. J. J. Elks has since refuted Mattingly's attribution, placing the 'Divi' series in the last issue of Decius struck at Rome (see Reattribution of the Milan Coins of Trajan Decius to the Rome Mint, NC 1972, pp. 111-5 and pls. 14-15.