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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 238. Estimate CHF450. 
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011. 
Sold For CHF460. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Trajan. AD 98-117. Denarius (Silver, 3.47 g 5), 98/99 AD. IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM Laureate head of Trajan to right. Rev. PONT MAX TR POT COS II Victory seated left on throne, holding patera and palm branch. BMC 21. BN 18. Cohen 295. RIC 22. A very unusual variety with a very atypical portrait. Virtually as struck.

The portrait on this denarius has hair that is shown in a very unusual way, as long strands rather than in more curled, short locks. Another example of this portrait type, surely by the same die cutter, appeared as lot 2000 in NAC Auction P of 12 May 2005 (also with the Victory reverse). It is more than likely that this portrait type was made as a trial, at the very beginning of Trajan’s reign, as a variant from the ones of Nerva that had gone on before. It was clearly not approved of by Trajan since it was apparently only used with a very small number of dies that were rapidly replaced by more conventional versions.