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Roman Denarius

Roman Denrius

Robin Dones asked if I could provide him with an identification and a valuation on this Roman denarius

The coin has an elongated hole behind the emperor’s head. I thought the hole might have been put there because someone in ancient times had thought the coin was plated rather than solid silver. However, when I inquired Robin said it was definitely silver. This denarius is a coin of Domitian as Augustus and has on the obverse a legend reading IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P—(the last part isn’t clear). On the reverse the standing figure of Minerva holds a spear and the legend on this side reads IMP XXII COS XVII CENS PPP. The coin was struck at Rome but this exact variety is not listed in volume I of David Sear’s Roman Coins and Their Values. However, Sear includes only a selection of the types and varieties known for Domitian.

Possible Treasure

It is doubtful that it was pierced so it could be worn as jewellery during Roman times, for lots of ready-made jewellery was available. Therefore, it could have been pierced during a later period. Leading on from this, were the coin reported then it might be classed as Treasure. Much would depend on other finds that have been unearthed on the same site. For example, if the site has given up a range of items dating from the early Anglo-Saxon period – a time when coins were pierced to be worn as jewellery. To be on the safe side, the best route forward would be to report this find as possible Treasure.


The coin is in Fine condition in terms of circulation wear but the hole will reduce its commercial value to £15 at best.

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