Nero “Port of Ostia” Sestertius

The weekly iAuctions here at Stack’s Bowers are a great source for collectible coins within a reasonable budget! Every month (closing on the first Sunday of the month) these iAuctions will contain World and/or Ancient coins, with the inclusion of some notable highlights such as this piece, a scarce and highly sought after bronze Sestertius of Nero, the famed “Port of Ostia” issue. View this lot in the current iAuction here. One of the most iconic Roman emperors, Nero, is famed for having “fiddled while Rome burned.” This anecdote alludes to the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64, for which some ancient historians blame Nero, as he wanted space to build his palatial “Domus Aurea” (which translates as Golden House). Modern historians exonerate Nero as the culprit as, among other reasons, he donated large sums of his own personal wealth to the public relief and reconstruction efforts. Another of Nero’s construction projects is detailed on the reverse of this Sestertius.

The port of Ostia, Rome’s closest port facilities, was recognized by Julius Caesar as valuable, but it would be some time before construction began on the project. The emperor Claudius began building in A.D. 42, and this coin must have commemorated the completion of the project under Nero’s rule. The obverse features the typical Roman obverse type, a laureate bust of Nero (this piece is rare, as it depicts him facing left). The reverse design shows a sprawling overview of the harbor, complete with the surrounding port buildings, an imposing statue of the Roman god of the sea, Neptune, ships of varying sizes idling in the harbor, piers, and breakwaters. In the lower center, a reclining image of the river-god Tiber dominates the motif. Some corrosion is present but the rarity of the type surpasses any misgivings about the damage. Be sure to bid early in order to own this exceptional and historical piece.

Look for this and other numismatic pieces in our upcoming iAuctions. These are held every Monday to Sunday, with world numismatic items being included in the sales that end on the first Sunday of every month. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our iAuction items at the Browse Auctions link at If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency for our iAuctions (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors by calling 800.458.4646.

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