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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

436, Lot: 532. Estimate $750.
Sold for $450. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Nero. AD 54-68. Æ Sestertius (33mm, 21.07 g, 6h). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. Struck circa AD 65. 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; WCN 410. Good VF, dark brown surfaces, part of the obverse legend and Nero’s hair have been tooled with smoothing in obverse fields and between letters.

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 reused if not entirely dismantled after Nero's ignominious end in AD 68, and is only known through its depiction on the coins.