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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 988. Estimate $750. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $1050. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

NERO. 54-68 AD. Æ Sestertius (28.82 gm). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. Struck circa 65 AD. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P, laureate head left, globe at point of bust / Triumphal arch surmounted by statue of emperor in quadriga accompanied by Pax and Victory, flanked by two soldiers (torch bearers?); nude, helmeted statue of Mars in side niche of arch, otherwise decorated with friezes of battle scenes. RIC I 392 var. (obv. legend); Cohen 307 var. (same). Nice VF, green patina, light ancient scrape across reverse. An important architectural type, and unpublished legend variety. ($750)

This monumental triumphal arch was erected by Nero to commemorate Roman military campaigns against the Parthians in Mesopotamia and Armenia. Although not particularly successful in a military sense, with Paetus losing almost his entire army at Randeia in Armenia, the war did end with a peace treaty favorable to Rome that was upheld for nearly fifty years. This coin type is vitally important for architectural historians, for the arch was dismantled after Nero's ignominious end in 68 AD, and is only known through its depiction on the coins.