Titus Restoration coinage

Plus information relating to Domitian, Nerva & Trajan Restoration coinage

Last updated: 20 December 2019

(27mm, 10.71 gm)

BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 273-275
RIC Volume II, Part 1 (second edition), Titus, No. 462
Obverse depiction: Augustus, radiate head facing left
Reverse depiction: Eagle with wings spread standing on Globe
Inscription: IMP T CAES AVG RESTITVIT - S C (above, left and right)

Wildwinds Augustus RIC 462 [titus] text has incorrect obverse inscription DIVI AVGVSTVS PATER

Ex Ancient Resource

(27mm, 10.03 gm)

BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 271 (variant)
RIC Volume II, Part 1 (second edition), Titus, No. 454
Obverse depiction: Augustus, radiate head facing left
Reverse depiction: Altar enclosure with double doors
Inscription: IMP T VESP AVG REST - S C (left and right) - PROVIDENT (in exergue)

Ex Romanorum

(27mm, 10.00 gm)

BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 281 (Pl.54.9.)
Obverse depiction: Agrippa, radiate head facing left wearing rostral crown
Inscription: M AGRIPPA L F COS III
Reverse depiction: Neptune standing left holding small dolphin and trident
Inscription: IMP T VESP AVG REST - S C (left and right)

Ex Incitatus

(34.5mm, 23.12 gm)

BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 297 (pl. 56.1)
RIC Volume II (1962 Edition), Rome, Titus, No. 234
RIC Volume II, Part 1 (second edition), Titus, No. 472 (Sear No. 2601)
Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right
Reverse depiction: Personification of Spes holding flower
in right hand and demurely raising skirt with left hand

Inscription: IMP T VESP AVG REST - S C (left and right)

Sear Roman Coins and their Values (RCV 2000 Edition) Number 2601 (via Wildwinds Claudius)

Sale: CNG, Triton XII, Lot: 555 (5 January 2009)

Ex Dr. V.J.A. Flynn Collection
Ex Praefectus coins

Background Notes

Although both Restoration and Restitution are employed by modern day authors to describe this coinage, I employ Restoration here because that is the nomenclature used by Harold Mattingly in his seminal reference: THE "RESTORED" COINS OF OF TITUS, DOMITIAN AND NERVA - The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society Fourth Series, Vol. 20 (1920), pp. 177-207 (31 pages) and on which much of the information presented here is based.

Upon assuming the purple, Vespasian adopted a policy of honoring illustrious members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty by issuing several commemorative coin types in their memory. Commemoration of the illustrious dead on coins originated during the later Republic and became an integral part of the legacy of deified Emperors.

Titus perpetuated his father's policy of honoring the illustrious dead by issuing commemorative coinage in a like manner. However, he now also began issuing coins that were struck using newly made dies designed to produce coins that closely resembled original coin types of the honorees but in more contemporary style. In BMCRE Vol II, TITUS-TYPES OF ROME, Mattingly states: "The 'restored' series of Titus served a double purpose; it preserved the memory of famous coins of the early Empire which were becoming obsolete and it emphasized in the public mind the continuity between the Flavian dynasty and its predecessor."

It is important to understand how the original coins were restored. For example the restored AVGUSTUS As (BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 273-275) depicted here was based on an original As struck at the Rome mint by Tiberius to honor the deified Augustus and depicts a left facing radiate bust of Augustus on the Obverse with the legend DIVVS AVGVSTVS PATER. A spread winged Eagle standing on a Globe is depicted on the reverse with large S C left and right. This coin is cataloged in BMCRE (British Museum Coins Roman Empire), H. Mattingly, Vol. I, as Tiberius No. 155 and in RIC (Roman Imperial Coins, Spink), C.H.V. Sutherland, Vol. 1, as Tiberius No. 82. Mattingly notes that the eagle is not a Roman bird but rather a symbol of immortality (bearing the soul of Augustus toward heaven?). As restored by Titus, the obverse of this coin retains the original coin depiction of Augustus and the legend intact. The reverse retains the original spread winged eagle depiction but the following inscription is added: IMP T CAES AVG RESTITVIT - S C (above, left and right) which roughly equates to "The Emperor Titus is the restorer of this coin".

RESTITVIT is sometimes abbreviated to REST

There are variations of these reverse titulature inscriptions throughout the Restoration coin issues. As a general rule, Titus Restoration coins retain the original coin obverse depiction and inscription, although in an updated style, and also the reverse depiction, but change (or add) the restoration reverse inscriptions described here.

The above restoration became the general model used by Titus for his coin restorations, again with some variances.

Only Aes coins - As, Dupondius and Sestertius - were restored. It was essentially Senatorial coinage yet was issued by Titus. Vespasian alone determined the style and content of his commemorative coinage. Titus, however, sought input from the Senate in the design and content of the restoration coinage. Evidentally it was important to him to have the two main powers of the State jointly honor the illustrious dead in this fashion and co-operation was reinforced by the striking of "Aes" coins bearing the usual Senatorial S C (Senatus Consulto) together with the "Restoration" legend. Of course, the Emperor was the supreme authority, and the Senate was subservient to him, but the traditional Senatorial control of the "Aes" coinage still had some relevance.

The Emperor and the Senate, acting together, selected the deceased Augusti and family members they deemed worthy of being honored by the issuance of Restored coinage - a kind of official judgment of their records. Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Galba - and selected family members - were included. Caligula, Nero, Otho, Vitellius - and their family members were excluded.

The following members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, and Galba, were honored with Restored coins by Titus:

Augustus - sestertius, dupondius, as
Agrippa - as
Tiberius - sestertius, as
Drusus - as
Livia - dupondius
Nero Drusus - sestertius
Germanicus - dupondius
Agrippina I - sestertius
Claudius - sestertius, dupondius as
Galba - sestertius, dupondius, as

The Restoration coinage of Domitian in general followed that of Titus, but the output was much lighter and appears to be restricted to a short period at the beginning of his reign.

The Restoration coinage of Nerva is different in that it only includes two honorees: Divus Augustus and Agrippina senior.

Trajan's Restoration/Restitution coinage was based on different criteria and he issued it in bronze, silver and gold. He also issued this coinage to honor Distinguished Republican families. There is some very interesting information relating to the Restoration/Restitution coinage of Trajan in this CNG listing. Note especially the Curtis Clay Commentary.

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