A Splendid New AcquisitionDomitian RIC 9 from the Brett Telford coll.

May 14, 2021

δώρημα κάλλιστον θεῶν.

(Self-restraint), God's greatest gift.

Euripides, Medea 636


Nam idem velle atque nolle, ea demum firma amicitia est.

Likes and dislikes are a firm basis for frienship.

Sallust, Catiline 20

RETT TELFORD'S COLLECTION, part of it anyway, has come up for sale recently.  This won't come as news to most of my readership.  Like many of you, I did manage to pick up a small number of prize coins.  Here is my star example, an RIC 9, beautifully preserved--




          This coin punches so many of my buttons, I could spend this whole article explaining why.  In fact, I might just do that.

          First of all, it's a beautiful coin from an important collection, and a rarity besides, R2.  Nomos graded it almost extremely fine, which is much higher than my usual standard.  Me, I'm just a coin collector, Brett Telford is a numismatist.  For me it's like playing bingo, if I see a gap in my coll., I'm compelled to fill it, even if it's a horrible example that someone like Brett wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole; then, with any luck and usually at great expense, I'll replace it later.  That's really wasteful and something I need to work on, and to that end Brett Telford's coll. stands as a glittering example.

          Speaking of gaps in my coll., this coin fills two of them--

          It is my first specimen from Domitian's first issue as emperor, which RIC has designated "Group 2," struck within the first day or two of Domitian's reign in September, 81 A.D.  The reverse inscription differentiates Group 2 from Group 3.  The P P, pater patriae, Father of the Country, a virtually meaningless title formerly held by Augustus and subsequent emperors, appears before COS VII in Group 2 coins and after DES VIII in Group 3 coins, giving way in pride of placement to the eventual addition of "TR P" in Group 4.

          Here note the progression in the reverse inscriptions on these three coins, Group 2 on the left (RIC 9), Group 3 (RIC 28, also from the Telford coll.), and Group 4 (RIC 43) on the right--



          Therefore--since Group 1 is a later commemorative issue celebrating Domitian's belated award of this essential TR P, tribunicia potestas, Tribunican Power, the power not to be assassinated legally and at will--any one of the coins of Group 2 may have been the very first coin minted under Domitian, including this one!  So there's that.

          The other gap, this is my first PONT, an abbreviation of PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, the Pope, as it were.  This abbreviation is very uncommon, only appearing in 81 and rarely, P M being the preferred.  Other examples with PONT have come up for auction since I began collecting again in 2015, but for whatever reason none of them ever came my way.  And now that gap has been filled thanks to my friend Brett Telford, who years ago, by the way, gave me the idea for this website.

          When I informed him by email of my good fortune, this is what he said, "I'm so glad my (now yours) RIC 9 went to such a good home.  I always prefer my coins going to friends over strangers.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!"

          Wasn't that a gracious thing to say!  In my opinion those few words were just the epitome of grace and generosity!  By my soul, I only hope that on the day this RIC 9 is pried from my cold stiff fingers that my spirit can offer even one half the measure of graciousness (I am confounded for another word) as Brett so casually delivered to me.  Something else for me to work on, I guess.

© Jim Hazelton, 2021
Managed by Jennings Web Services, LLC