Claudius (Augustus) Coin: Brass Sestertius
TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P - Laureate head right, NCAPR counterstamp behind bust
EX S C / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS - Legend within wreath
Mint: Rome (50-54AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 23.42g / 36.39mm / 180
Old Roman Coins.Com
Acquisition/Sale: Ancient Imports Internet
The countermark NCAPR was applied to numerous orichalcum coins of the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius. NCAPR is most often explained as "Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano." Others believe NCAPR abbreviates "Nummus Caesare Augusto Probatus" or "Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit" (probavit means approved). Excavations of the Meta Sudans and the northeastern slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome indicate that this countermark was applied for Nero's congiarium (distribution to the people) in 57 A.D., which supports the Populo Romano interpretation. Varieties of this relatively common countermark are identified by some authors as applied in either Italy, Spain or Gaul. The countermark is not found on coins bearing the name or portrait of Caligula. Clearly any coins of Caligula that were still in circulation and collected for application of the countermark were picked out and melted down, in accordance with his damnatio, rather than being countermarked and returned to circulation. A NCAPR countermark has, however, been found on a Vespasian dupondius which, if genuine and official, seems to indicate the N may refer to Nerva, not Nero.
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.
NCAPR counterstamp of Nero behind bust.
From The Museum of Countermarks on Roman Coins website:
There are several interpretations of what this, the most interesting of all Julio-Caludian ctmk., means. The two most likely are:
1. Nero Ceasar Augustus Populi Romani
2. Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit
In the first instance it is a congiarium or public dole given by Nero to the people of Rome. In the second, it is a revalidation of the earlier coins of ones predecessors still in circulation.
Possible is also a later use, eg. by Nerva, or that no emperors name was part of the countermark.
Previously believed to be applied during the reign of Nero, a specimen in the Pangerl collection appears on an as of Vespasian, necessitating a later date for the series. Three distinct production centers can be identified for this issue, in Spain, Gaul, and Italy. The Italian type is distinguished by the frequent joining of the letters NC at the base.
NCAPR (Nummus Caesare Augusto PRobatus?) in rectangular countermark-Translated-'Money Caesar Augustus Approved'