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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Twelve Caesars| ▸ |Nero||View 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.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
The reverse legend translates, "The gates of Janus' temple are closed because peace of the Roman people is set on both land and sea." On the rare occasions when Rome was not at war the doors of the 'Twin Janus' were ceremonially closed, an event Nero commemorated extensively on the coinage of 65 - 67 A.D. -- Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1 by David R. Sear
SL96449. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 583, Mac Dowall WCN 475, BMCRE I -, Cohen I -, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, scuff (5745271-004), weight 30.31 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 66 - 67 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, laureate head right, globe at the point of the bust; reverse PACE P R TERRA MARIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, view of the Temple of Janus from the front left corner, temple front on the right with garland over closed doors within arch, the left side of the temple to the left with long latticed window, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; ex Heritage NYINC Sale 3081 (12 Jan 2020), lot 30178; ex Roma e-auction 4 (29 Nov 2018), lot 733; ex Private European Collection; NGC| Lookup; $2600.00 SALE |PRICE| $2340.00
 


|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
A decursio was a military exercise, by which Roman soldiers were taught to make long marches in a given time, under arms and without quitting their ranks. They sometimes consisted of a mock fight between two divisions. Augustus and subsequently Hadrian ordered that the infantry and cavalry were to march out three times a month ten miles from the camp and ten miles back, fully armed and equipped. Decursio on this coin probably refers Nero's participation in mock military maneuvers in the circus.
SH96390. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 508, Mac Dowall WCN 448, BMCRE I 316, BnF II 135, Cohen I 88, SRCV I -, Choice aEF/VF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, scratches, marks, porosity more on the reverse, weight 23.971 g, maximum diameter 35.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT P P, laureate head left, small globe at point; reverse DECVRSIO (in exergue), Nero and a companion on horseback prancing right, Nero holds spear in right hand, companion holds vexillum in right over shoulder, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $2700.00 SALE |PRICE| $2180.00
 


|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
The Lost Arch of Nero. This arch is undoubtedly the one that Tacitus says was voted to Nero for Corbulo's victory in Armenia in 58, and that he further reports was being constructed "in the middle of the Capitoline Hill" in 62, despite a successful invasion of Armenia by the Parthians in that year. No traces of the arch have ever been found. The arch was completely destroyed either shortly after Nero's death with the damnatio memoriae Nero received when the senate proclaimed him an enemy of the state, or in one of the two fires that consumed the Capitoline hill in 69 and 80. However, the quadriga on top of the arch is similar to that depicted on sestertii at the center of the Flavian amphitheatre (the Colosseum). It may have been reallocated.
SH96391. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 144, BMCRE I 184, Cohen I 306, Mac Dowall WCN 134, SRCV I -, Choice gVF, excellent portrait, dark patina, well centered, light marks, scattered light porosity, weight 27.125 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER PM TR P IMP P P, laureate head left, globe at point of bust; reverse triumphal arch; surmounted by statue of Nero in a facing quadriga, led by Pax on left and Victory on right, and flanked below by two soldiers; front ornamented with statue of Mars in a niche and bas-reliefs of small figures; garland hanging in arch; ex Pegasi Numismatics; $1850.00 SALE |PRICE| $1490.00
 


Nero and Poppaea, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero| |and| |Poppaea,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|NEW
RPC Online I notes, "The date does look like L IB, but the coin is very battered." and "Confirmation required. Poppaea died in AD 65, so it seems unlikely that coins should have been made for her in year 12." This is the Dattari Collection plate coin and Dattari identified it as year 12. In Alexandria, Nero's year 12 began on 29 August 65 A.D. According to Suetonius, one day in the summer of 65, Poppaea quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. She was pregnant with her second child. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. This coin suggests her death was likely on or after the 19th of August. It would have taken 9 days or more for the news of her death to reach Alexandria. This coin may have been a trial strike or perhaps one of very few struck during the first days of the new year.
RX93590. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari-Savio pl. 7, 199 (this coin!); RPC Online I 5289A (this coin!, the only spec.), aVF, brown tone, corrosion, scratches, rough, weight 7.834 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 29 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AYTO, radiate bust of Nero right; reverse ΠOΠΠAIA ΣEBAΣTH, draped bust of Poppaea right, L IB (year 12) lower right; from the Kreuzer Collection, ex Naville Numismatics auction 51 (21 Jul 2019), lot 301; ex Dattari Collection; this is the only known example of this type dated year 12!; unique!?; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Ancient Counterfeit

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||tetradrachm|NEW
In 1933, J.G. Milne wrote, "There are scarcely any counterfeits or forgeries of Alexandrian coins in existence, other than those made in modern times." This coin is, however, an ancient counterfeit, a die match to two specimens in William Metcalf 's "A Hoard of Forgeries from Luxor" in Revue Belge de Numismatique CXXII (1976), pp. 65 - 77, pls. 1 - 2 (Available Online). Metcalf records a hoard of ancient Alexandrian forgeries in the American Numismatic Society collection, acquired at Luxor in March 1908, by the E.T. Newell. The 76 pieces in the ANS not be the entire hoard, since Newell was in the habit of disposing of duplicate or damaged specimens. The coins are of acceptable weight and struck, not cast, and copied coins struck 41 - 161 A.D. The hoard was clearly as intended, a hoard of counterfeits only, likely the forger's own stock. There are two specimens from the same dies in the ANS. Our coin may have been part of this original hoard or it may be a coin that the forger had already put into circulation.
RX93591. Billon tetradrachm, Metcalf Forgeries p. 72, obv: IX / rev: 17 & obv: pl. 1, 11 / rev: pl. 2, 13 (for prototype see Dattari 256, struck 67/68 A.D.), VF, very close to official style, light marks, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 11.725 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 0o, criminal mint, c. 161 - 165 A.D.; obverse NEPO KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AY, radiate bust of Nero left, wearing aegis, L I∆ (year 14) before; reverse ∆IOΣ OΛYMΠIOY, laureate bust of Zeus Olympios right, no star; ex Naville Numismatics auction 51 (21 Jul 2019), lot 241 (not identified as counterfeit); $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00 ON RESERVE


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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|NEW
Ptolemy Soter wanted to integrate the Hellenistic and Egyptian religions by finding a deity that could win the reverence of both groups. The Greeks would not accept an animal-headed figure, so a Greek-style anthromorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force). Ptolemy's efforts were successful - in time Serapis was held by the Egyptians in the highest reverence above all other deities, and he was adored in Athens and other Greek cities.
RX95750. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 14.84, Geissen 170, Dattari 253, Milne 226, BMC Alexandria 157, RPC I 5281, Emmett 133 (R1), VF, toned, marks, tight flan, weight 10.998 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 64 - 28 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP, radiate head right; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Serapis right, date LIA (year 11) right; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 64 (28 Nov 2019), lot 492; ex Fritz Rudolf Künker (Mar 2008) ; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00
 










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, & P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Clay, C. "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. Roman Quinarii from the Republic to Diocletian and the Tetrarchy. (Oxford, 2007).
Mac Dowall, D. The Western Coinages of Nero. ANSNNM 161. (New York, 1979).
Mac Dowall, D. "Two Roman Countermarks of A.D. 68" in NC 1960, pp. 103 - 112, pl. VII.
Mattingly, H. & R. 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. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
von Kaenel, H.-M. "Britannicus, Agrippina Minor und Nero in Thrakien" in SNR 63 (1984).

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