By Chris Chatigny, Numismatist & Stack’s Bowers Ancient Coins Cataloger
The upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries May Collectors Choice Online Auction featuring World and Ancient Coins May 14-16th includes a fantastic Aureus of Roman Emperor Nero as lot 70103.
One of the most iconic Roman emperors, Nero is famed for having “fiddled while Rome burned.” This anecdote alludes to the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64, for which some ancient historians blame Nero.
They claim he wanted space to build his palatial “Domus Aurea” (which translates as golden house). Some modern historians exonerate Nero as the culprit, with one of several reasons being that he donated large sums of his own personal wealth to the public relief and reconstruction efforts.
There are other magnanimous efforts of Nero – and the other Roman Emperors in general – such as providing regular stipends of grain to the masses of Rome. This duty is alluded to by the reverse design of this Aureus: the goddess Ceres, who ruled over grain and agriculture.
Ceres (whose name has given the modern world the word cereal) extends a handful of grain sprigs in her right hand, miming the distribution of grain to the people. The obverse design depicts a youthful and bareheaded bust of the emperor Nero, with titles around.
The reverse features the aforementioned depiction of Ceres, with additional honorific titles of Nero around. This example offers great centering, a detailed strike and a bold portrait. In addition to this coin, there are many other desirable offerings in this sale; hidden treasures await diligent bidders.
Stack’s Bowers are currently accepting consignments of world and ancient coins as well as world paper money for the August 2018 ANA Auction, the October 2018 Collectors Choice Online Auction as well as the January 2019 New York International Auction. In addition, they are taking consignments of Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for the August 2018 Hong Kong Showcase Auction.