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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 102, Lot: 908. Estimate $300.
Sold for $301. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Titus. As Caesar, AD 69-79. Æ As (26mm, 12.66 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck under Vespasian, AD 72. Laureate head right / VICTORIA NAVALIS, Victory standing right on prow of galley, holding palm frond and wreath. RIC II 454 (Vespasian). VF, dark green to black patina with touches of red.

From the estate of Thomas Bentley Cederlind.

It is tempting to tie this coin into Titus’ defeat and capture of Jerusalem in October AD 70, but the Judaea campaign was land-based. According to Harold Mattingly in his introduction to the Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, “Victoria Navalis on her prow demands a word of explanation. Laffranchi has suggested a definite commemoration of Actium, and he is probably right in so far as a parallel is drawn between Augustus and Vespasian, both victorious in the East. But there had been little naval fighting in the Jewish war, and the Civil War, to which veiled reference might be made, had been won on land, against the advice, or even the orders of the Emperor. The official policy of Vespasian had been that of a slow but certain victory by blockade of Rome from Egypt; and it is to call attention to the wisdom and importance of this policy that the coins were designed.”