2020-21: The Year of the Four Emperors

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Cicero12, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. Cicero12

    Cicero12 Supporter! Supporter

    Its been a dismal 365 days in basically every respect. One of the few bright spots of the past year has been the extra time to focus on, refine and expand my collection. Over the past year, I have been fortunate enough to add a number of pieces I am very happy with, and move on from some that no longer fit my collection.

    Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to acquire a piece I regretted missing out on in an auction in 2020--an aureus of Otho. I was originally the underbidder on this piece at auction, and was very pleased to find out recently the purchaser was a dealer. I'd been regretting my lowish bid on the coin as, though it demonstrates some honest wear and has a somewhat distracting flan flaw on the reverse, the portrait is of fine style and the coin possesses a beautiful red/purple Boscoreale tone.

    After some brief reflection upon finding the coin in the dealer's inventory and consultation with friends, I decided the coin was a good mix of style/detail/pedigree and one I am unlikely to upgrade any time soon given my preference for pedigreed pieces (and even when the opportunity comes, I would expect to pay 2-3X the price).

    What's more, this acquisition completes my set of the four emperors from the eponymous year--something I was lucky enough to have accomplished (by chance, not design), in almost exactly 365 days (I purchased my Vespasian last March).

    I hope to take a better photo once I crack the coin out of its slab--please excuse the quality! I have a newfound respect for everyone here and at auction houses who can photograph slabbed coins well. It is truly an art.

    Please post your coins from the Year of the Four Emperors below!


    Obverse: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P. bare head, right.

    Reverse: SECVRI – TAS PR, Securitas bearing wreath and scepter, left.

    References: C 16. BMC 13. RIC 7. CBN 7. Calicó 531.

    Provenance: Privately Purchased March 4, 2021. Ex Schulman Vault Collection, Jacques Schulman 365 (Jubilee Auction), October 22, 2020, 1539; Numismatic Fine Arts sale XXX, 1992, 224; Nelson Bunker Hunt Collection (Part II, Sotheby's New York, 21 June 1990), 694. From the Boscoreale Hoard of 1895.

    The rest of the gang below-more details can be found in my previous threads or www.cicerocollection.com

    Gabby.JPG Vespa2.JPG Vats.JPG
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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Well I aint nearly rich enough to get a set of aurei, but I do have this rather dingy denarius that I got for like 12 bucks.
  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Nice aurei - thanks for showing them.
    Cicero12 likes this.
  5. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    That is a wonderful "year of the four emperors" set. Especially that Galba is exceptional. I can only dream of owning an Aureus myself.
    DonnaML and Cicero12 like this.
  6. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    What a great set Cicero !

    Here's my silver budget set:

    P1230339best.jpg P1220573best.jpg P1210689 (1) best.jpg P1170829new.jpg
  7. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I really enjoy gold, modern and ancient. Gorgeous Aurei, @Cicero12 , well done.

    - Here is the person whose actions precipitated the Year of the Four Emperors:


    RI Poppea-Nero BI tetradrachm of Alexandria LI yr10 63-64 CE Milne 217 RPC 5275

    - The person who stood up and started the Civil War and end the Julio-Claudian debacle, but did not have an Army:

    RI Civil War Revolt of Vindex CE 68-69 AR Denarius ROMA RESTITVTA - IVPITER LIBERATOR Jupiter seated r Tbolt Scepter 17mm 3.02g RIC I 62 RSC 374-RARE

    - His Buddy that had an Army:

    RI GALBA 68-69 BCE AR Quinarius Lugdunum mint laureate r Victory globe stdng left 15mm 1.5g RIC 131 scarce

    - The Epilated One:


    RI Otho 69 CE BI AR Tet 23mm Egypt Helmeted Roma Emmet 186

    - NOT a Soldier, but the luck of an Army at the right place and time:


    RI Vitellius 69 CE AR Denarius Pont Max Vesta Seated

    - A new kind of Emperor, not an "entitled" Patrician:

    RI Vespasian 69-79 CE AR Quinarius Victory seated wreath palm RIC 802 Rare
  8. kirispupis

    kirispupis Active Member

    What a stunning coin! Below, is a list of all the aurei in my collection:

    And here's a list of all my coins from the year of the four emperors:

    I'm just getting started in my collection though. :) A bit unrelated, but one interesting story I think I recall in Suetonius was how Nero had his servants cover the floor in gold coins and he then rolled around in them. So, if you happen to own a gold aureus of Nero, there's a chance his sweaty body rolled over it.
  9. Cicero12

    Cicero12 Supporter! Supporter

    I was hoping someone would post a Vindex! Great coin!
    Alegandron likes this.
  10. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

  11. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thank you. Here is my other, which is more well known among his issues:

    RI Civil War VINDEX 68-69 CE AR Denarius 3.22g Gallic mint SALVS GENERIS HVMANI Victory l globe - SPQR in wreath RIC 72 BMCRE 34-36 RSC 420 RARE
  12. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Congrats on an Otho aureus. I think you made a good call to acquire it when you did. Here are my Four Emperors in more modest medal:

  13. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Exceptionnal set, I agree on the Galba being outstanding

    You will have to wear sunglasses to see any yellow on my "year of the four" coins though....





  14. Cicero12

    Cicero12 Supporter! Supporter

    Wow! Magnificent style across the board.
    Cucumbor likes this.
  15. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Here are my four coins. I might get into a gold piece eventually, but since I have been working on everything up to Constantine the Great, coins like Gordian I and II have taken up a lot of money. In the year 238, there were six emperors.


    Galba All.jpg


    Otho ALL.jpg


    Vitellius All.jpg


    Vespasian All.jpg
  16. Cicero12

    Cicero12 Supporter! Supporter

    These are beautiful. I particularly like your Galba. There are some aurei of his that are either the same obverse die or most assuredly cut by the same engraver.
    johnmilton likes this.
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The Vitellius was the "stretch coin." It seems like his long name has a bad habit of running off the coin. I spotted one that was really nice with respect to color and surfaces, but it was missing a lot of the lettering. The price was fairly cheep at something like $350 because of that, but I really wanted the words
    Cicero12 likes this.
  18. Cicero12

    Cicero12 Supporter! Supporter

    the Vitellius looks quite nice to me! As you can tell from my own, I don’t care as much about the legends (save for some issues where the legend is interesting to me). My main focus is usually on the portrait. I think your coins have a really nice overlap of style and completeness.
    johnmilton likes this.
  19. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    Congratulations on crossing off some particularly tough emperors with superb examples! I'm looking forward to your out-of-slab photos on the Otho - I'm not as anti-slab as some but when it comes to photography, it's a travesty and truly impossible to capture the full coin or bring out all of its quality.

    Your Vespasian is still my favorite but it would be very hard to select which of the other three should come second. They all have a consistent level of quality and intrigue which makes it very evident why you selected them.
  20. Cicero12

    Cicero12 Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you!
  21. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    Interestingly, seeing the four emperors together as one set makes the history a bit more tangible, from a time of unrest and disruption to a period of stability and relative peace.

    For reasons I can't quite put my finger on, the Vespasian Judaea Capta in gold just seems the most distinctive. Possibly it's the combination of the Boscoreale toning with the superb Vespasian portrait.

    Also, kudos to all those with these four emperors in silver. The progression of Roman history is depicted equally well in these sets too.
    Cicero12 and johnmilton like this.
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