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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; $4680.00 (€3978.00)
 


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)
 


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

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In ancient times, Alexandria was one of the world's most famous cities, known for its lighthouse (Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and its library (the largest in the ancient world). Founded around 331 B.C. by Alexander the Great, it was Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641 A.D.
RP85906. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 204, Geissen 172, Milne 238, Kampmann-Ganschow 14.88, BMC Alexandria 163, RPC I 5289, SRCV I 2004, Emmett 109, VF, toned, flan flaw on each side, areas of corrosion, weight 11.750 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 65 - 28 Aug 66 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AY, radiate bust right wearing aegis; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Alexandria right wearing elephant-skin headdress, LIB (year 12) right; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


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; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Judaea, Antonius Felix, Roman Procurator Under Claudius and Nero, 52 - 60 A.D.

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Minted by Antonius Felix, Roman Procurator of Judaea, 52 - 60 A.D., in the names of Nero and Britannicus Caesars, the stepson and son respectively of the emperor Claudius. Antonius Felix was the procurator before whom St. Paul was brought for trial.
JD86532. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1348, Meshorer TJC 340, SGICV 5626, RPC I 4971, VF, highlighting earthen deposits, light corrosion, off center, weight 2.346 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 54 A.D.; obverse NEPW KΛAV KAICAP (Nero Claudius Caesar), two oblong shields and two spears crossed; reverse BPIT (Britannicus), six-branched palm bearing two bunches of dates, L - I∆ / K-AI (year 14 of Caesar) flanking trunk; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


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

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Perga was the capital of Pamphylia. Today it is a large site of ancient ruins, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) east of Antalya on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. During the Hellenistic period, Perga was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the ancient world, famous for its temple of Artemis. It also is notable as the home of the renowned mathematician Apollonius of Perga.Ruins of the main street in Perga
RP84161. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 3373 (5 spec.), McClean 8902, BMC Lycia -, SNGvA -, aF, flan crack, rough, weight 4.647 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Perge mint, as caesar under Claudius, 50 - 13 Oct 54 A.D.; obverse NEPWN KAICAP, bare head right; reverse APTEMI∆OC ΠEPΓAIAC, Artemis running right, torch in left, bow in right; very rare; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


Antioch, Roman Syria, 59 - 60 A.D.

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Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo was the Propraetorial Imperial Legate of Roman Syria from 60 - 63 A.D. In 58 A.D. Corbulo, who had been Caligula's brother-in-law, had defeated the Parthians. Tigranes, who grew up in Rome, was installed as king of Armenia. In 63, Armenia again fell under Parthian hegemony. Corbulo crossed the Euphrates with a strong army. The new Armenian king Tiridates refused battle, laid down his diadem at the foot of the emperor's statue, and promised not to resume it until he received it from the hand of Nero himself in Rome. In 67, Nero, suspicious of Corbulo and his support among the Roman masses, summoned him to Greece. On his arrival at Cenchreae, the port of Corinth, messengers from Nero met Corbulo, and ordered him to commit suicide, which he loyally obeyed by falling on his own sword, saying, "Axios!"
RX86393. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 106(a), RPC I 4292 var. (no dot), SNG Cop 102 var. (same), BMC Galatia p. 161, 76 var. (same), F, well centered, brown and brassy surfaces, scratches and marks, porous, weight 5.348 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, reign of Nero, 59 - 60 A.D.; obverse ANTIOXEΩN, turreted and veiled bust of Tyche right; reverse burning, garlanded altar, on ground line, dot below altar, ET•HP (year 108) in exergue; rare variety; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


Antioch, Seleukis & Pieria, Syria, c. 59 - 60 A.D.

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Shortly after Nero's accession in 54, the Roman vassal kingdom of Armenia overthrew their Iberian prince Rhadamistus and replaced him with the Parthian prince Tiridates. This was seen as a Parthian invasion. Nero immediately sent the army under the command of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. The Parthians temporarily relinquished Armenia, but peace did not last. Full-scale war broke out in 58 when the Parthians invaded Armenian. Corbulo repelled Tiridates, and Rome again controlled most of Armenia. Nero was acclaimed for this victory. Tigranes, a Cappadocian noble raised in Rome, was installed as the new ruler of Armenia. Corbulo was appointed governor of Syria as a reward.
RY86394. Bronze dichalkon, McAlee 107a/1 (same dies); SNG Fitzwilliam 5931; RPC I 4293 (no dot above lyre); SNG Cop 108 var. (same); BMC Galatia p. 161, 80 var. (same), gVF, green patina, a little porous, slightly off center, weight 3.796 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, civic issue, reign of Nero, c. 59 - 60 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Apollo right, hair rolled and bound with beaded taenia; reverse ANTIOXE ET HP (Antioch, year 108 [Caesarian era]), lyre, dot above; rare with dot above; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


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

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This type was issued to celebrate Corbulo's Armenian conquest. Corbulo was honored by Nero as the man who had brought this "triumph" but his popularity and influence with the army made him a potential rival. Together with the involvement of his son-in-law Lucius Annius Vinicianus in a foiled plot against Nero in 66, Corbulo became suspect in the eyes of the emperor. In 67, while journeying in Greece, Nero ordered him to be executed; upon hearing of this, Corbulo committed suicide.
RP70091. Silver hemidrachm, Sydenham Caesarea 81, RPC I 3644, RIC I 616, BMC Galatia -, VF, frosty surfaces, uneven toning, weight 1.309 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, c. 59 - 60 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD DIVI CLAVD F CAESAR AVG GERMANI, laureate head right; reverse Victory advancing right, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond over shoulder in left, ARME-NIAC flanking across field; rare; $60.00 (€51.00)
 




  



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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 Monday, January 22, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Nero