World Coins

Result of Nero’s monetary reform, gold aureus common

Heritage offered a fascinating group of flashy (and very old) gold coins to kick off its World and Ancient Coins Platinum Night sale Aug. 3, part of its American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money auctions: The Golden Gate Collection of Roman Gold Aurei. The group of 40 coins covers a century-long span during the peak of the Roman Imperial period from A.D. 60 to 160, “a time when the Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial [extent], economic influence, and artistic influence, all reflected in its coinage.” Heritage suspects that the group, acquired by the consignor’s father in 1981, was likely unearthed as a single find in Israel in the late 1970s, though more specific information on the find location is elusive.

Steve rarely writes about the world coins, so this group of coins must be a real treat if he decided to cover it. Here’s the third of three Roman gold coins we feature from the group:

The Lot:

Nero (54 to 68) gold aureus, Choice Fine

The Price:


The Story:

While many of the aurei in the collection were expensive rarities, others were more affordable, including this evenly circulated aureus of Nero minted in Rome between 65 and 68 and graded NGC Choice Fine with 5/5 strike and 3/5 surfaces that realized $2,350.

When value guides differ, what is a collector to do?”How can collectors determine a coin’s value when price guides assign it different values? Also in this week’s print issue, we learn of the first report of a 2017 doubled die variety, found on a Lincoln cent.

It was one of three gold pieces of Nero — each well-worn — in the group. Heritage observes, “Nero gold aurei are among the most commonly found coins in gold hoards of the first and second centuries, perhaps because so many were struck following Nero’s monetary ‘reform’ (or debasement) of circa 63-64.” During this period earlier gold aurei were recalled and melted, and new coins were produced with a lower weight, and Nero’s coins circulated widely.

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It was graded by NGC Ancients, which provides an adjectival grade and provides separate grading for strike and surface. Strike considers the quality of the planchet, the state of the dies and the strike, including centering. The surface rating considers what happened after a coin was struck, such as corrosion and cleaning.

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