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    Description

    Exceptional Nero Portrait

    Nero (AD 54-68). Orichalcum sestertius (34mm, 28.49 gm, 6h). Rome, AD 65. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P,  laureate head of Nero right, lightly bearded, aegis on shoulder / PACE P R TERRA MARIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT S - C, three-quarter view of temple of Janus with front doors closed, garland draped across arched entrance. RIC 264. BMCRE 156. Cohen 145. An exceptionally handsome and detailed portrait, struck in high relief on a broad flan. Toned orichalcum surfaces, minor patch of roughness behind head and light double strike at base of neck, otherwise an extraordinary piece. NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 3/5, Fine Style.

    This beautiful sestertius is noteworthy both for its bearded portrait of Nero and the intriguing architectural reverse. While the vast majority of male Romans in the first century AD were clean-shaven, Nero affected a scruffy "chin beard" in the mid-60s AD, perhaps in mourning for his second wife Poppaea Sabina, who died in AD 65. Poppaea was allegedly pregnant at the time of her death, and ancient historians hostile to Nero (most of them) attribute her demise to a kick to her abdomen delivered by Nero in a fit of rage. His extravagant grief over her death argues against this, and it is more likely she died due to complications in her pregnancy or childbirth. The reverse image of the Temple of Janus marks another, less personal historical event -- Peace with Parthia. The Temple of Janus was one of the oldest structures in the Roman Forum. According to tradition, the doors were kept open in wartime and closed during times of peace. The closing of the Temple doors was a rare event, even during the Pax Romana. In AD 66, having recently concluded a favorable peace treaty with Parthia, Nero closed the doors with great fanfare and marked the occasion on his coinage.
    From the Northern California Collection


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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