Collectors of U.S. coins will sometimes turn to ancient and world
coins when they feel that they’ve exhausted their collecting options.
The introduction of U.S. collectors to this field is often by chance.
Perhaps they have seen a coin in a dealer’s case that interests them,
or maybe they stumble across a lot in an auction catalog. That there
is third party grading for these coins gives U.S. coin buyers
confidence. Here are three fascinating old gold coins from ancient
cultures that might appeal to U.S. collectors, from Heritage’s recent
Chicago International Coin Fair auction.
Roman Nero gold aureus, Extremely Fine
Roman gold coins of the 12 Caesars are immensely popular, as are all
coins of Nero. This is due in large part to this famed Roman Emperor’s
unsavory reputation, but also because the portraits of him on coins
are especially expressive and diverse. This gold aureus dates from
A.D. 58 to 59, and has a youthful portrait showing Nero in the early
years of his reign, which took place between A.D. 54 and 68.
The portrait here shows Nero in relatively slim form, in contrast to
the fuller form that the emperor’s portrait would take in later
issues. This issue marks a transition between two aspects of Nero’s
personality. As Heritage notes: “Nero’s name has become synonymous
with decadent, depraved tyranny. It is surprising, then, that the
first five years of his reign were looked upon as a golden age of
wise, moderate government.”
This example, graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. as Extremely Fine,
with specifics articulated per NGC’s grading system for ancients that
rates a coin’s strike, surface and style. Here, the strike is rated as
5/5, the surface at 3/5 and the style as fine.