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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ NeroView Options:  |  |  |   

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

Nero became emperor after his stepfather, the emperor Claudius, died (Claudius was probably poisoned by Nero's mother Agrippina II). At first, Nero ruled well, guided by his mentors Seneca and Burrus, but soon his reign degenerated into the debauchery and murder for which he is infamous. He had his mother, Burrus, Britannicus, and numerous senators and members of the nobility murdered or executed. Legend says he kicked Poppaea, his pregnant wife, to death. He was the first emperor to persecute Christians, blaming them for the Great Fire in 64 A.D. Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D after generals in Africa, Gaul, and Spain all rebelled, and the Praetorian Guard in Rome deserted him.


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Nero considered himself an artist, perhaps he was and took an interest in his coinage - the sestertii of Nero are considered by many to be the finest numismatic art of the Roman Empire.
RB84073. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 443 (S), Mac Dowall WCN 428, Giard Lyon 119, BnF II 83, Cohen I 262, BMCRE I -, Hunter I -, SGCV I -, VF, fine style, excellent portrait, attractive brown toning, obverse slightly off center, some light corrosion, weight 25.990 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head left, globe at point of neck; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass and shields, wearing helmet and military garb, Victory in offering wreath in her right hand, her left hand resting on parazonium at side, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, S - C flanking across field at center, ROMA in exergue; $1800.00 (€1602.00)
 


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All the Latin coins of Perinthus are rare. BMC does not list Perinthus mint, but identifies this type as "barbarous." RIC notes the existence of Balkan sestertii, dupondii, and asses but does not catalog them.

RPC attributes the countermark to Nicaea, Bithynia.
RS77050. Bronze as, Mac Dowall CM pl. VII, RPC I 1762, BMCRE I 391 var. (barbarous); c/m: Martini 92, RPC I p. 345 (Nicaea, Bithynia, Apr 68 - Jan 69), VF, c/m: VF, dark blue-green patina, weight 9.665 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, mid 66 - 9 Jun 68 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM IMP, laureate head right, countermark: ΓAΛBA in a rectangular punch; reverse eagle standing facing on ovoid globe, wings open, head right, S - C divided across field above center; rare; $350.00 (€311.50)
 


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The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
RR77139. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon 22, RIC I 22 (R3), BMCRE I 24, RSC II 216, BnF II 30, MacDowall 43, SRCV I 1936, Hunter I -, aF, edge crack, weight 3.328 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, Dec 60 - Dec 61 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVG IMP, bare head right; reverse PONTIF MAX TR P VII COS IIII P P, legend around oak wreath, enclosing EX S C; rare; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


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The Jewish Revolt began in 66 A.D. The rebels were successful at first. The Zealots took Jerusalem and annihilated the Roman garrison (a cohort of Legio III). The Sicarii captured the fortress of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea. Cestius Gallus, legate of Syria, marched into Judea leading a Roman army of 28,000 soldiers, including Legio III Gallica, Legio XII Fulminata, and Legio XXII Primigenia. Unable to take the Temple in Jerusalem, he retreated to the coast where he was surrounded at Beth-Horon and nearly wiped out by the Zealots.
RB76956. Orichalcum dupondius, Mac Dowall WCN 525, Giard Lyon 205, BMCRE I 342, RIC I 597, Cohen I 325, BnF II -, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, F, green patina, well centered, smoothing, weight 12.558 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, laureate head left, small globe at point of neck; reverse SECVRITAS AVGVSTI, Securitas seated right, relaxed on high back throne, right elbow on throne and resting head on right hand, short scepter in left hand, garlanded lit altar and torch on bucranium at feet before her, S - C flanking across center, nothing in exergue; scarce; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


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In 46 A.D., after the death of the Thracian king Rhoemetalces III and after an unsuccessful anti-Roman revolt, the Thracian Kingdom was annexed by Claudius as the Roman province of Thracia. Perinthus was made the capital of Roman Thracia. All the Latin coins of Perinthus are rare. BMC does not list Perinthus mint, but identifies this type as "barbarous." RIC notes the existence of Balkan sestertii, dupondii, and asses but does not catalog them.
RB90366. Copper as, RPC I Supp. S-1760a, F, corrosion, light scratches, weight 8.452 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 315o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 63 - 9 Jun 68 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG, laureate head right; reverse Neptune standing half left, dolphin in right, long vertical trident in left, S - C flanking across field; very rare; $170.00 (€151.30)
 


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After the Great Fire of Rome in July 64, Lugdunum sent a fortune to Rome to aid in the reconstruction. However, during the winter of 64 - 65, Lyon suffered its own catastrophic fire. Nero reciprocated, sending money to Lugdunum for their reconstruction.
RS77049. Orichalcum dupondius, Mac Dowall WCN 495, Giard Lyon 50, RIC I 379, BnF II 57, Hunter II 112, SRCV I 1969 var. (illustrated), BMCRE I -, Cohen I -, F, dark green patina, light corrosion, weight 14.375 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, radiate head right, globe at the point of the bust; reverse VICTORIA AVGVSTI, Victory walking left, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand, S - C across field, II (mark of value) in exergue; $145.00 (€129.05)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Ankyra, Phrygia

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Ancyra minted its first coinage under Nero and this type with a young portrait and the name Claudius in the emperor's titles may have been the first type struck by the city.
RP84539. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 3108; SNG Cop 135; SNGvA 8227; Weber 7019; Mionnet IV p. 220, 152, VF, attractive young portrait of Nero, flan flaw upper left, weight 4.200 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ancyra (Ankara, Turkey) mint, magistrate Klaudios Artemidoros, c. 55 - 60 A.D.; obverse NEPΩNA KΛAY∆ION KAICAPA ANKYPANΩN, bare head right; reverse EΠI KΛAY∆IOY APTEMI∆ΩPOY IEPEΩC, Zeus standing left, nude, anchor downward in right hand, long scepter in left hand; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Thyatira, Lydia

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Thyateira (also Thyatira) is the ancient name of the modern Turkish city of Akhisar ("white castle"). In Revelation, Thyatira is the church that had a false prophetess (Revelation 2:20).
RP84078. Orichalcum AE 17, RPC I 2382; BMC Lydia p. 302, 62; SNG Cop 597; Lindgren-Kovacs 834; SNGvA -, aVF, nice green patina, light corrosion, a little off center, weight 2.341 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Thyatira mint, c. 55 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN KΛAY∆I-OC KAICAP CEBA, bare-headed, draped bust of Nero right, wearing light beard (indicating mourning, for the death of Claudius); reverse labrys (double-axe), ΘYAT−EIPH/NΩ−N in two two lines across field divided by axe handle; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


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To celebrate his escape from the Pisonian conspiracy and assassination attempt in 65 A.D., Nero constructed a temple to Salus, the Roman goddess of health and safety, and honored her on the reverse of his coins.
RS77547. Silver denarius, RIC I 67, RSC II 318, BMCRE I 90, BnF II 237, Hunter I 30, SRCV I 1945, aF, toned, marks and scratches, weight 2.550 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 66 - 67 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse Salus enthroned left, patera in extended right hand, left elbow on throne, SALVS in exergue; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Sardes, Lydia

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Sardis was the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia, an important city of the Persian Empire, a Roman proconsul seat, and in later Roman and Byzantine times the metropolis of the province Lydia. In the Book of Revelation, Sardis, one of the Seven Churches of Asia, is admonished to be watchful and to strengthen since their works haven't been perfect before God. (Revelation 3:1-6).
RP67772. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 3002; BMC Lydia 120, SNG Cop 522 corr., F, weight 4.047 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, strategos Mindios, c. 59 - 62 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN KAIΣAP, laureate head right; reverse EΠI MIN∆IOY CAP∆IANΩN (square C), bust of Herakles right with Nemean lion skin tied around neck; $80.00 (€71.20)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPNEROCAESARAVGPMAXTRPOTPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPMAXTRPPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPMTRPOTPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPONTMAXTRPOTPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGVSTVS
NEROCAESAR
NEROCAESARAVGGERMIMP
NEROCAESARAVGIMP
NEROCAESARAVGVSTVS
NEROCAESAVGIMP
NEROCLAVCAEAVGGER
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERMANI
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPIMP
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERPMTRPIMPPP
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPIMPPP
NEROCLAVDCAESDRVSVSGERMPRINCIVVENT
NEROCLAVDDIVICLAVDFCAESARAVG
NEROCLAVDDIVICLAVDFCAESARAVGGERMANI
NEROCLAVDIVSCAESARAVGGERMA
NEROCLAVDIVSCAESARAVGGERMANIC
NEROCLAVDIVSCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPIMPPP
NEROCLDIVIFCAESAVGPMTRPII
NERONERONICLAVDIODRVSOGERMCOSDESIGN
NERONICLAVDIODRVSOGERMCOSDESIGN


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, and P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, E. Xavier. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Clay, C.L. "Münzprägung des Kaisers Nero" in Numismatische Zeitschrift 96 (1982), pp. 7 - 17. Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon, De Claude Ier à Vespasien (41-78 après J.-C.), et au temps de Clodius Albinus (196-197 après J.-C.). (Wetteren, 2000).
Giard, J-B. Bibliothèque National Catalogue Monnaies de L'Empire Romain II: De Tebère à Néron. (Paris, 1988).
King, C.E. Roman Quinarii from the Republic to Diocletian and the Tetrarchy. (Oxford, 2007).
Mac Dowall, D.W. The Western Coinages of Nero. ANSNNM 161. (New York, 1979).
Mac Dowall, D.W. "Two Roman Countermarks of A.D. 68." in NC 1960, pp. 103 - 112, pl. VII.
Mattingly, H. and R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, David R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 08, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Nero