Forces of Vitellius in Gaul and in the Rhine Valley. Anonymous, 2 January-19 April 69. Denarius (Silver, 18 mm, 3.35 g, 4 h), Lugdunum. 'Jupiter-Vesta Group'. VESTA P R QVIRITIVM Veiled, diademed and draped bust of Vesta to right; before, burning torch. Rev. I O MAX CAPITOLI-NVS The Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on the Capitoline Hill: distyle temple with wreath in pediment and acroteria in the form of aphlasta; within, statue of Jupiter seated left, holding thunderbolt in his right hand and scepter in his left. BMC 70. CG 15.8 (this coin). Cohen 368. Martin 13. Nicolas 15. RIC 128. Rare and of great numismatic interest. A lightly toned and unusually attractive example. A few light marks, otherwise, very fine.
From the collection of Dipl.-Ing. Christian Gollnow, ex Numismatica Ars Classica 92, 23 May 2016, 2105 and Lanz 112, 25 November 2002, 360.
Despite Martin assigning all civil war coinage to Spain, the connection between the 'Jupiter-Vesta Group' and Vitellius has long been obvious through the continuation of the Jupiter- and Vesta-types in the early coinage of the pretender to the throne struck in Lugdunum. The numismatic importance of the present coin lays in establishing a reverse die match to two solid silver portrait denarii of Vitellius from Lugdunum, the first of which appeared in Numismatica Ars Classica P, 12 May 2005, 1949, the second in Rauch 92, 22 April 2013, 1255. These are the first recorded die matches between an anonymous civil war issue and official portrait coins of Vitellius and as such of the greatest interest.
We may deduce from this discovery that either Vitellius captured an existing civil war mint and reused an existing reverse die for his own purpose, or, and this is much more likely, it was him who had the 'Jupiter-Vesta Group' struck in the first place (why else would he reuse such unique types on his portrait coinage?). If this assumption is true, it seems likely to assign the fine style 'Jupiter-Vesta Group' to the imperial mint of Lugdunum, whose familiar mintmark, a small globe, appears below the bust of Vitellius' portrait coinage. Such an attribution not only accounts for the use of this reverse die for both anonymous as well as for portrait coins, it also explains the fine style of the dies.
Furthermore, it would nicely fit with Kraay's suggestion that Fabius Valens, Vitellius' commander who marched from southern Gaul to Italy, struck the anonymous 'Jupiter-Vesta Group' for the specific use of bribing Otho's factionists in Rome and undermining their loyalty, a task for which an anonymous coinage with types closely related to the city of Rome seems much better suited than conspicuous coins carrying the portrait of Otho's rival, Vitellius. Likewise, it would also explain the absence of Lugdunum's mintmark, the globe, on the anonymous coinage so as to not give away that these coins were struck in enemy territory.