The Roman Empire
Estimate: 8'000 CHF
Starting price: 6'400 CHF
Price realized: 11'000 CHF
Nero augustus, 54 – 68. Denarius, Roma 60-61, AR 3.80 g.
Description: NERO CAESAR · AVG · IMP Bare head r. Rev. PONTIF MAX TR P VII COS IIII P P around oak-wreath enclosing EX S C. References: C 216
CBN 30 Condition:In exceptional condition for the issue. A wonderful portrait well-struck in high relief with a superb told cabinet tone, good extremely fine Provenance: NFA sale XX, 1988, 117
NFA sale XXV, 1990, Moretti, 350
NAC sale 38, 2007, 28
Cayon sale December 2007, 3227 Note: Nero’s dated aurei and denarii were struck for a decade from A.D. 54 until sometime in A.D. 64, after which his mass of reduced weight, post-reform undated issues appear, coinciding with the major reconstruction and rebuilding efforts in the city of Rome after the great fire of that year. The earlier dated issues fall into two principal groups and reflect the power politics at play in the imperial court. From the beginning of Nero’s reign until November A.D. 55, the types employed on gold and silver coins either honor the deified Claudius, Nero’s adopted father, or jointly emphasize Nero and his mother, the influential Agrippina II. On these latter coins, at first the emphasis was on Agrippina, with her name and titles occupying the place of prominence on the obverse while those of Nero were relegated to the reverse, but in A.D. 55 the situation reversed with Nero’s name and titles replacing those of his mother on the obverse and hers being moved to occupy the place of secondary importance on the reverse.
By the end of A.D. 55 or sometime early in the following year, Nero had finally dispensed altogether with the irksome meddling of his mother and cast Agrippina out of the court. Her influence was jointly assumed by Seneca, Nero’s former tutor, and Burrus, his powerful praetorian prefect, and as one would expect the coinage reflects her change in status. Now the obverse now no longer features Agrippina at all, and Nero’s portrait appears alone along with his titles which are then continued onto the reverse and surround a simple oak-wreath enclosing the legend Ex S C. The oak-wreath (corona civica), the second highest honor awarded by the state, was originally bestowed by the Senate of Rome (ex senatus consulto) to Augustus for having saved the lives of citizens by successfully ending the long period of civil wars that racked the dying Republic. By the time of Nero it had become an imperial prerogative. The corona civica type continued as Nero’s sole precious metal type until A.D. 60/1 when it was replaced by figures of either Ceres, Virtus and Roma.