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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Triton XV, Lot: 1496. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Nero. AD 54-68. Æ Sestertius (33mm, 24.65 g, 6h). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. Struck circa AD 65. NERO • CLAVD • CAESAR • AVG • GER • P M • TR • P • IMP • P • P, laureate head right, globe at point of neck / Triumphal arch surmounted by statue of emperor in quadriga accompanied by Pax and Victory; two soldiers (torch bearers?) flanking quadriga, statue of Mars in side niche of arch, otherwise decorated with panels of battle scenes; S C across field. RIC I 392; Lyon 70; WCN 410; BMCRE 329; BN 77. Good VF, green patina, a few minor cleaning scratches on obverse. Sharp details on reverse.

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 (Paetus lost 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 AD 68, and is only known through its depiction on the coins.