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Denarius of Plotina

The finder of this Roman denarius asked to remain anonymous. It was unearthed back in 2008 and was reported and recorded on the PAS database. I was asked to provide a valuation.

Detectorists find lots of Roman denarii but the majority are examples of fairly common emperors or their wives. This specimen is a rarity, for it was struck for Plotina, who was the wife of Trajan. Plotina had no children but after the death of Trajan she is said to have been largely responsible for the succession of Hadrian, who had been her favourite.

On the obverse of this denarius is a diademed and draped bust of Plotina and a legend that reads PLOTINA AVG IMP TRAIANI. On the reverse is the altar of Pudicitia, a legend reading CAES AVG GERMA DAC COS VI P P and in the exergue is ARA PVBIC. This type was struck at Rome in AD 121 and in volume II of David Sear’s Roman Coins and Their Values it is listed as number 3375. In Roman Imperial Coins it is number 733.


On the PAS database the coin is said to be hardly worn and it is graded as extremely fine. However, it is certainly not in EF condition. It would grade no higher than Fine and it appears to have some kind of deposit on the lower part of the obverse. Additionally, the flan is dark in colour and collectors much prefer denarii to be more obviously silver.

As I’m always pointing out, the state of preservation is the most important factor in relation to the market value of any coin. In 2020 an EF example of this coin sold for $11,000. Early in 2022 a VF example sold for $1,850 (roughly £1,420). Denarii of Plotina are rare but anyone doing a quick search on the internet would not find it particularly difficult to trace a few specimens.

If I was cataloguing this coin for sale at auction then I would set the pre-sale estimate no higher than £500 – £600. On a good day it might sell for more but on a bad day it might struggle to attract a buyer.

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