Vitellius, as Imperator. 2 January-18 July 69. Denarius (Subaeratus, 17 mm, 3.05 g, 6 h), uncertain mint in the Rhine Valley. 'Plated Jupiter-Vesta Group', imperatorial portrait issue. Bocciarelli groupe 2. A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN Laureate head of Vitellius to left, small globe at point of bust. Rev. CONS[ENSVS E]X[E]RCITVM (sic!) Mars, nude but for helmet and cloak billowing behind, advancing left, holding spear in his right hand and vexillum surmounted by aquila in his left. BMC -, cf. 84 (reverse legend ending on EXERCITVVM, Spanish mint). Bocciarelli p. 283, 3 (this coin, AV2/RV2). CG 18 (this coin). Cohen -, cf. 24 (reverse legend ending on EXERCITVVM, Spanish mint). RIC -, cf. 23 (reverse legend ending on EXERCITVVM, Spanish mint). Of the highest rarity, the second known example and the only one in private hands. A nicely toned coin of unusual style. Thin crack in plating on the reverse, otherwise, very fine.
From the collections of Dipl.-Ing. Christian Gollnow and J. Eric Engstrom, Classical Numismismatic Group 102, 18 May 2016, 892 corr. and ex Numismatic Fine Arts IX, 10 December 1980, 432 corr. (both times misdescribed as an issue from the Spanish mint).
Bocciarelli has shown that this coin is linked by its obverse die to the 'Plated Jupiter-Vesta Group'. We may deduce from this observation that the anonymous plated coins from said group were struck simultaneously with those showing Vitellius' portrait, as was the case with the 'Jupiter-Vesta Group' struck in Lugdunum (see lots 1155-1166 above). For a longer note on the dating of the plated coins, which rests heavily on this particular coin, see lot 1167 above.