World Coins

Roman Nero gold aureus realizes highest value: Market Analysis

A handsome gold aureus of Nero graded Extremely Fine and certified by NGC as having fine style sold for $8,515.75 at Heritage’s 2015 CICF sale.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

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.

The Coin 

Roman Nero gold aureus, Extremely Fine

The Price 


The Story 

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.

Community Comments