Relative rarity of the types

Even from the earliest studies of this series, it has been known that certain of the restoration coins were more common than others.  This prompted speculation as to whether this difference resulted during the original creation of the coins, or if a later selection happened, such as by a damnatio memoriae.  This question is resolved by a methodical estimation of the original number of dies that were created for each emperor.


The study of this data clearly shows that the obverse types that have survived in greater volume, are a result of the greater number of dies created for them, with significant differences between the more common coins of Antoninus Pius and Trajan and the rarer Nerva, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus.

The distribution of the coins found in the Dorchester hoard is practically identical to the estimates of original dies.  We can consider the distribution of the various types Divi series coinage in this hoard as an accurate indicator of the series’ participation in the general circulation of that time.

There has not been a process of selective removal over time; random loss has affected each type equally.  In other words, if one type of the Divi series coins is found in less proportion, then it is because fewer resources were dedicated to its production.

A limited issue for a particular emperor may reflect a reduced interest in transmitting that emperor’s image, and perhaps this corresponds to a less favorable contemporary review of the ruler.

However, the true reason for the unequal distribution of dies is subject to a wide degree of speculation, and is beyond our current study.

That the reverse of 2/3 of the coins show a pyre while only 1/3 show an eagle, can perhaps be explained by the simplicity of engraving the pyre, as compared to the more complex task of engraving the details of an eagle. Here, the technical arguments alone seem adequate to explain the disparity in the number of coins, since both the pyre and eagle would be expected to have similar value as propaganda.

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