Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 111   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 166

Estimate: 20'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 16'000 CHF Price realized: 16'000 CHF
Nerva, 96 – 98. Aureus 97, AV 7.08 g. IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P Laureate head r. Rev. CONCORDIA – EXERCITVVM Clasped hands holding legionary eagle set upon prow l. C 28. BMC 27. RIC 15. CBN 16. Calicó 958.
Very rare and in unusually good condition for the issue. A lovely portrait of fine style
perfectly struck and centred on a full flan. Extremely fine
Ex Helios sale 5, 2010, 242. From the Collection of a Retired Banker.
The reign of Nerva was quite different than that of his predecessor: not only was Domitian militant in character, but he spoiled his army by increasing their salaries from 225 denarii per year (which had been the standard since the time of Julius Caesar) to 300 per year, and paid them in coins of increased weight and purity. This was a difficult act for an elderly senator to follow, especially since for at least six decades now the army had been instrumental in making and maintaining emperors. Money was key to Nerva's success: he maintained Domitian's standards of heavy, pure aurei and he devoted reverse types to the army. This is an example of Nerva's appeal to the army for concord. Although a general symbol of concordia, the clasped hands may also represent Nerva's hope that the army and the senate could work together. On this piece clasped hands support a legionary eagle set upon a prow, representing the army and the navy. However, even with Nerva's fiscal and numismatic overtures, his relationship with the army was strained at best. In the very year these aurei were struck there were two failed plots against the new emperor: one by troops stationed on the Danube, and another by praetorian guardsmen in Rome, who principally were seeking revenge on those who had murdered Domitian. Aware of his peril, Nerva wisely adopted as his successor the commander Trajan, then governor of Upper Germany, in September or October of the year these aurei were struck. Within four months Nerva had died of what we presume were natural causes, and he was lawfully succeeded by Trajan.

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