Obverse: NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS; Portrait of the Emperor Crowned in a Laurel Wreath
Reverse: AVGVSTVS AVGVSTA; Radiate Nero Standing on the Left, Holding a Patera and a Sceptre, Poppaea Standing Next to Him on the Right, Holding a Patera and a Cornacopiae
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus was born at Antium in 37 A.D., the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina Junior. He became Caesar in 50 A.D., and Augustus from 54 A.D. Perhaps no emperor evokes the image of Rome’s grandeur and decadence better than Nero. Much maligned by later historians, Nero was in fact a complex and talented individual, as full of whims and contradictions as any human being. Though he sat on the throne of Rome, his dearest ambition was to be a stage actor. He neither started the fire that destroyed half of Rome in 64 A.D., nor fiddled as it burned, although this is the impression that has survived through the ages, thanks to the rumors spread by his enemies. He used this opportunity to begin one of the most outrageous building projects Rome has ever known, the Domus Aurea, or “Golden House of Nero.” Once standing on the present site of the Coliseum, work on this monumental complex, apparently covered in gold, silver, and precious jewels, was halted upon his death in 68 A.D. While Nero was not free from faults by any means, he clearly was not the corrupt villain history has painted him to be.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine- made currencies. Today, this coin is an ancient memorial to an emperor passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation. - (C.4079)