IONIA. Smyrna. Vespasian Junior, Caesar, ?-95/6. Hemiassarion (Orichalcum, 17 mm, 2.84 g, 12 h). OYЄCΠACIANOC NЄΩTЄPOC Bare head of Vespasian Junior to right. Rev. ZMYPNAIΩN Nike advancing right, holding wreath in her right hand and palm frond over her left shoulder. Klose XLII, 1-5. RPC I 1028. Rare. Sharply struck on a very broad flan and in exceptional condition for the issue. Repatinated and with a thin flan crack, otherwise, good very fine.
The siblings Vespasian and Domitian Junior (their birth names are unknown) were the sons of Titus Flavius Clemens and Flavia Domitilla and as such the grandsons of Vespasian's older brother Titus Flavius Sabinus. Domitian, whose own son Domitian had died in 82 (?), adopted the kindred infants in early 95 and renamed them in honor of himself and his father. The rare coinage in the name of Vespasian Junior issued in Smyrna strongly indicates that he was Domitian's chosen heir, but both Vespasian and Domitian Junior disappeared without a trace from history after their native parents Sabinus and Domitilla were executed and exiled respectively in May 95 on the charge of atheism. Domitian would not outlive his cousin for long, as he was murdered by a freedman of Domitilla named Flavius Stephanus just sixteen months later, which brought the rule of the Flavian dynasty to an abrupt end.