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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Twelve Caesars| ▸ |Otho||View Options:  |  |  | 

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.

Otho came to power after the murder of Galba in the Year of Four Emperors, 68 - 69 A.D. Otho supported Galba's revolt against Nero, in the expectation he would be named heir, but the old soldier instead named Calpurnius Piso. Otho, angered by this, conspired against them and put them both to death after being declared emperor. After a minor defeat by the forces of Vitellius, Otho committed suicide. This was perhaps the only noble act of his life - he preferred to die rather than see more blood shed in civil war.

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Otho,| |15| |January| |69| |-| |17| |April| |69| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||as|
Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.
RP111018. Bronze as, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), RPC I 4316 (not specifying leg. direction), Wadd 7260 var. (clockwise legend), SNG Hunt 2854 var. (same), VF, nice portrait, bare metal, scratches, marks, porosity, obv. off center, obv. edge beveled, weight 15.411 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP M OT-HO - CAE AVG (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ETZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves, dotted outer border; this variant with a counterclockwise obverse legend is extremely rare; $600.00 (606.00)


|Otho|, |Otho,| |15| |January| |69| |-| |17| |April| |69| |A.D.||denarius|
The BMC specimen, acquired in 1867, was identified as a modern forgery after it was found to share an obverse die with a fake aureus. RIC does not list the type, noting the BMC forgery and stating the type needs confirmation. Quite a few clearly genuine examples have been offered on the market in recent years. This coin has been authenticated by Jyrki Muona, a collector and expert numismatist specializing in the coinage of Otho.

An example of this type, graded NGC AU* 5/5 - 4/5, but with a pitted reverse clearly inferior to this coin's, sold for $22,000 plus fees at the Heritage New York Signature Sale 3030 (6 January 2014).
SH68896. Silver denarius, BnF III 25, RSC II 11, BMCRE I 9 (BM specimen condemned as a modern forgery), RIC I -, SRCV I -, Superb EF, light toning on luster, good strike with fresh dies but very highest points a little weak, weight 3.614 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right; reverse PONT MAX (high priest), Ceres standing left, stalks of grain in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona collection; very rare; SOLD


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Otho,| |15| |January| |69| |-| |17| |April| |69| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
The Alexandrian coinage of Otho has a portrait with only modest resemblance to other coins of the Emperor. Perhaps the mint lacked an image of the new ruler.
SH73358. Billon tetradrachm, RPC I 5358; Geissen 245; Dattari 324; BMC Alexandria p. 25, 212; Kampmann 18.1; Emmett 182 (R2), VF, weight 13.190 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse ΑΥΤΟΚ ΜΑΡΚ ΟΘΩΝΟΣ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ, laureate bust right, LA (year 1) before neck; reverse ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΕΑ, draped bust of Alexandria right, wearing elephant skin headdress; rare; SOLD


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Otho,| |15| |January| |69| |-| |17| |April| |69| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
RPC notes that the priestly simpulum symbol appears on some of each of the five Otho tetradrachm reverse types. The types with the symbol are rare. RPC lists 16 examples with simpulum and 69 without it.
SH60659. Billon tetradrachm, RPC I 5353, BMC Alexandria 212 var. (simpulum), VF, weight 12.316 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate bust right, LA (year 1) before; reverse AΛEΞANΔPEA, draped bust of Alexandria right, wearing elephant skin headdress, simpulum before; rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPMOTHOCAESARAVGTRP
IMPOTHOCAESARAVGTRP


REFERENCES|

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P.P. Ripolls. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calic, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Butcher, K., M. Ponting & J. Muona. "The denarii of Otho: a stylistic and compositional study" in La Rivista Italiana di Numismatica 110 (2009), pp. 291 - 310.
Calic, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, III Du soulvement de 68 aprs J.-C. a Nerva. Catalogue Bibliothque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Muona, J. "The Rome mint coins of Marcus Salvius Otho" in Tutkimusta ja kerily, Suomen numismaattinen yhdistys 1914 - 2014., pp. 16 - 27.
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, D.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).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

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