The mint of Nicaea was one of the most prolific mints in Roman Bithynia. Situated at important crossroads and in a fertile landscape the city could boast of its natural and economic riches, and used them to compete for prestige and titles. Its chosen rival was the neighbouring city of Nicomedia. For this challenge Nicaea used the coins in deliberate communication strategies which either focused on text or image: at first, Nicaea prioritized its titles but under Antoninus Pius changed focus to depictions of its cults. This paper seeks to explain how and why Nicaea changed this strategy, and how other apparently unique aspects of civic identity were used to keep up with the growing importance of Nicomedia.