Discovery of variants on the Aureii and Denarii of Septimius Severus, RIC 288

While browsing the coins of Septimius Severus type RESTITVTOR VRBIS, I noticed a variant of scepter / spear. The RIC gives us for this type of coin, a single description: Rome holding a spear. But, we may wonder, since the tip of this spear always shows us balls, if we always have a spear and not a scepter in front of us. Some coins (such as the one illustrating the javelin crosswise below), show us a spear or a scepter, whose end placed on the ground is masked by the shield. But no characteristic point of a spear goes out on the side of the shield on the right. Except if we follow the drawing, the spear is glued to the shield and so we should see this point. All coins showing a glued spear or behind the shield show no tip. sold by Roma Numismatic Limited, link to the sale:, link to the website:

 Spear or scepter? Impossible to say, on the other hand we note variations of palladium, which are clear. However, these small variations do not give rise to a variant classification of the original type. What are these variations? Quite simply in the position of the javelin held by Pallas (see mythology), either this javelin is held across, or it is short and straight, or long and straight.

Holding across:

Coin sold by Roma Numismatic Limited, Auction 6, lot 960, 29.09.2013. Link to the sale: to the website:


Short and straight:

Coin sold by Numismatica Ars classica, Auction 62, lot 2045, 06.10.2011. Link to the sale:, link to the website: (variant without backrest, explained below).


long and straight:

Coin sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 49, lot 310, 21.10.2008, Link to the sale:, Link to their website:

Now that we have seen this little point, which illustrates the fancies of the engravers, let us return to what I spoke previously for the Aureii: scepter or spear? On the Denarii, there is no doubt that this variant exists, illustration:

  Scepter variant:

Coin sold by Classical Numismatic Group, Electronic Auction 328, lot 539, 11.06.2014. Link to the sale:, link to the website:

Finally, here is a link to a coin showing a spear, sold by CGB, link to the sale:, link to the website:

Another thing, we see the back of a chair behind Rome on almost every Aureii, while on the denarii it seems never appear. To classify the variants "with and without Chairback" for the Aureii does not seem essential, but to note it can always be useful, if only for the studies of die links.

It is thus advisable to classify these variants and to better note the descriptions (example with the chair for the Aureii and without for the denarii, thing which I carried out and which will be present in the database of this website soon.