World Coins Auctions – Spectacular IVDAEA DEVICTA Aureus of Titus

During the 2012 8-9 March Signature Auction – The Shoshana Collection of Ancient Judean Coins, an incredibly rare gold aureus of Titus as Caesar (69-79 AD), struck at an Eastern mint in 69 AD, likely Tyre, anticipating the subjugation of Judaea, which the Romans achieved with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, which realized $956,000.


Titus as Caesar (79 – 81 AD). AV aureus (18mm, 7.49 gm, 12h). Undated c. AD 70, Judaea or Antioch. IMP T CAESAR VESPASIANVS; laureate head of Titus with aegis to r. / IVDAEA DEVICTA (outward from top l.); Victory stands r., l. foot on helmet, inscribes IMP T CAES on shield hanging on palm tree. Hendin 1478 (incorrectly described with bust Vespasian). RPC 1912 var. BN 384. RIC 175,1535. Nick on cheek. Lustrous Good Extremely Fine.


An unparalleled example of this extreme rarity, certainly the finest example known for the type. Aside from the outstanding state of preservation, with only a small nick on the cheek keeping it from perfection, this aureus also is the only known specimen with a complete inscription, including IMP T CAES on the shield.


Most scholars agree on a date early in AD 70 for the issue, which places it before or during the siege of Jerusalem (May-September 70). The bold claim of IVDAEA DEVICTA (“Judaea is Conquered”) would thus seem to anticipate an inevitable Roman victory and complete subjugation of Judaea. However a final conclusion to the Jewish War would not come until the fall of Masada in 73.


Various mint sites have been proposed for the IVDAEA DEVICTA issues of the East, with Antioch and Tyre being most often cited. However, the most recent revision of Roman Imperial Coinage II by Carradice and Buttrey contains the following passage on page 46: “This group of aurei has a distinctive style, with elongated portraits, outward facing legends and heavily pelleted borders, which can be linked to a group of Syrian tetradrachms (RPC II, 1963-9). Stylistic links with the provincial ‘Judaea Capta’ coinage and other evidence points to a Judaean origin for these coins.”


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