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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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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $5200.00 (€4420.00)
 


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

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In either late 67 or early 68, Gaius Iulius Vindex, the Roman governor of Gallia Lugdunensis rebelled against Nero's tax policy. In order to gain support, he declared allegiance to Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, as the new emperor. Vindex was defeated and killed in battle near Vesontio (modern Besancon) but support for Galba grew. On 9 June 68, deserted by the Praetorian Guard, Nero stabbed himself in the throat.
SH85666. Silver denarius, RSC II 119; RIC I 53; BMCRE I p. 210, 74; Mac Dowall WCN 57; BnF II 220; Hunter I 28, EF, excellent portrait, light toning, slight die wear, tight flan, weight 3.282 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 64 - 66 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse IVPPITER CVSTOS (Jupiter the Preserver), Jupiter seated left, bare to the waist, himation around hips and legs, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; $600.00 (€510.00)
 


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

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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
RS86166. Silver denarius, RIC I 55 (R), BMCRE I 83; RSC II 257, Hunter I 19, BnF II 224, SRCV I 1944, F, nice portrait, toned, attractive for grade, light marks, light deposits, light porosity, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.312 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 165o, Rome mint, 65 - 66 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass, shields and grieve, helmeted, right leg drawn back and right foot on helmet, Victory offering wreath in her right hand, left hand on parazonium, ROMA in exergue; rare; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


Nero and Poppaea, 62 - 65 A.D., Thyatira, Lydia

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Poppaea was renowned for her beauty and voluptuous extravagance. In 62 A.D., Nero divorced his wife Octavia to marry Poppaea. According to Tacitus, Poppaea married Otho only to get close to Nero and then, in turn, became Nero's favorite mistress, and then wife. She bore Nero one daughter, Claudia Augusta, born 21 January 63, who died at only four months of age. At the birth of Claudia, Nero honored mother and child with the title of Augusta. 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.
RP84927. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 2383 (6 spec.); BMC Lydia p. 302, 65; Weber 6932, SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark green patina, a little rough, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Thyatira (Akhisar, Turkey) mint, c. 62 A.D.; obverse NERΩN KΛAY∆IOC KAICAP CEBACTOC, laureate head of Nero right; reverse ΠOΠΠAIAN CEBACTHN ΘYATIPHNOI, draped bust of Poppaea right; rare; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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

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In 62 A.D., Lucan wrote a history of the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey.
RX86146. Bronze obol, RPC I 5263; Dattari 278/279; Geissen 149; BMC Alexandria 179/180; Milne 207; Kampmann-Ganschow 14.67, F, old scratch on obverse, reverse rough, edge cracks, weight 5.661 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 61 - 62 A.D.; obverse NER KLAY KAI CEB GEP, laureate head right; reverse AYTO KPAT, Roma standing half left, patera in right hand, shield and spear in left hand, LH (year 8) lower left; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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This coin is a small module quadrans struck on orichalcum (brass). The same type was also struck on a normal size copper quadrans flan.
RB85334. Orichalcum quadrans (small module), BMCRE I 291 (also small module), Cohen I 180, RIC I 317, SRCV I 1987 var. (CLAVD), BnF I -, gVF, green patina, scratches, small patina chip and rough spot on obverse, weight 1.568 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAV CAE AVG GER, crested Corinthian helmet right on top of cippus, oval shield leaning on the column to right, spear diagonal pointing upper right on far side of column leaning on shield; reverse P M TR P - IMP P P, upright branch, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across lower half of field; rare; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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The shield held by Victory is the golden shield that was dedicated to Augustus by the Senate and Roman People (S. P. Q. R.) in recognition of his classic, cardinal virtues. By placing the shield and Victory on his coin, Nero was claiming these same virtues were part of his regime. -- Roman History from Coins by Michael Grant
RB85336. Copper as, RIC I 543, BMCRE I 381, BnF II 160, Mac Dowall WCN 593, Hunter I 131, Cohen I 302, SRCV I -, F, bumps and marks, some corrosion, dark fields with bare copper devices, weight 10.186 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, laureate head right, globe at point of neck; reverse Victory flying left, shield inscribed S P Q R in right hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking high across field; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


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

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Mostene, in ancient Lydia, prospered in Roman and Byzantine eras. There is debate, based on a line in Tacitus, over whether Mostene was a Macedonian colony or a native Lydian city. In 17 A.D. the city was hit by an earthquake and was assisted by relief from Tiberius.
RP84897. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 2462 (2 specimens), Imhoof-Blumer LS 4a, BMC Lydia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Munchen -, SNG Tubingen -, VF, dark patina, encrustations, light corrosion, slightly off center, weight 2.457 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Mostene (Kepecik, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse NEPONA KAICAPA, bare-headed and draped bust right; reverse EΠI ME∆ANIOY MOCTHNΩN, city goddess of Mostene seated left, kalathos on head, two grain ears in right hand, double axe in left hand; very rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


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

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The object on Serapis' head is sometimes described as a modius, a grain container, or as a polos, a high cylindrical basket-like woven crown. Poloi are normally worn by female deities but perhaps is worn by Serapis to indicate his all-encompassing nature. In "The symbolical language of ancient art and mythology: An inquiry," Richard Knight identifies this object as the seed-vessel of the lotus plant.
RX84811. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 160, Milne 222, RPC I 5274, Dattari 251, BMC Alexandria 156, Kampmann 14.77, Emmett 133 (R1), VF, tight flan, light marks, porous, edge cracks, strike a little flat, weight 12.309 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 64 - 64 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP, radiate head right; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Serapis right, date LI (year 10) right; $100.00 (€85.00)
 




  



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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, & 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).

Catalog current as of Saturday, November 18, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Nero