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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

111, Lot: 166. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1650. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

NERO. 54-68 AD. Æ Sestertius (37mm, 32.51 gm). Rome mint. Struck circa 64 AD. Laureate head left / S C across field, triumphal arch surmounted by statue of emperor in quadriga accompanied by Pax and Victory, flanked by two soldiers (torch bearers?), a nude, helmeted statue of Mars in side niche of arch, otherwise decorated with friezes of battle scenes. RIC I 144; Cohen 306. VF, green patina, smoothed.

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.