The Adoptive Emperors minted their coins during a period of unheard of stability. Plenty of wars, but not the type of rip yourself to shreds internal dynastic issues that historically led to a period of turmoil for the empire. Nerva was the right man for the job, and may have been forced to pick his successor, but he is probably best known for making the decision to adopt "the best": Nerva 96–98 A.D. denarius RIC 26 CONCORDIA 97 Roma IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P II COS III / P P CONCORDIA EXERCITVVM 17mm 3.2g A cornerstone to any Roman Empire collection is a decent denarius of Trajan. This coin is well struck with a great portrait and full legends. I'm also fan of the Victory reverses that are very ubiquitous in Trajan's era: Trajan 98-117 A.D. denarius RIC 193 Victory 107 Roma IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V P P / SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI 18mm 3.25g Hadrian gets a bit of a premium over Trajan but still very easy to find an attractive coin like the one below that is toned with a portrait in fine style (Roma too!). He gets extra credit for making three good picks: Hadrian 117–138 A.D. denarius RIC II.3 722 Roma 24-125 Roma HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS COS III 19mm 3.04g How cool would it be to drink some wine, listen to music and discuss philosophy with our next good to great emperor. Capitolinus wrote, "The manner of his adoption, they say, was somewhat thus: At any rate, when Hadrian announced a desire to adopt him, he was given time for deciding whether he wanted to be adopted. This condition was attached to his adoption, that as Hadrian took Antoninus as his son, so he in turn should take Marcus Antoninus, his wife's nephew, and Lucius Verus." : Antoninus Pius 138–161 A.D. denarius RIC III 63b Apollo 140-143 ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III / APOLLINI AVGVSTO 18mm 3.12g Marcus Aurelius is remembered fondly for fighting lots of wars but it sure is harder to find examples as nice, and as easily as, Trajan or Hadrian.: Marcus Aurelius 161–180 A.D. denarius RIC 209 Aequitas 168-169 Roma [M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX] / TR P XXIII IMP V COS III 18mm 3.05g Lucius Veres spent much of his time taming Armenia, great write up on this reverse can be found on Coin Talk here. In a Good emperor collection Veres is not always represented, so here I chose to go a different route from a standard denarius, and I think that reverse is really cool: Lucius Verus 161–169 A.D. drachm Sydenham, Caesarea 352 Mt. Argaeus 161-166 Caeseria, Cappadocia AYTOKP OYHPOC CЄBACTOC / YΠA-TOC B 20mm 6.1g Doh.... Ok so maybe Marcus Aurelius made a mistake and just so happens he's not adopted. Commodus had a 15-year run attesting to the strength of the empire he inherited and arguably destroyed in 196 or so years - just a few short to make the other threads list of great empires: Commodus 177–192 A.D. denarius RIC 237 Victory 192 Roma L AEL AUREL COMM AUG P FEL / PM TR P XVII IMP VIII COS VII P P 18mm 2.6g I've posted almost all of these before but took these under some really nice light this weekend. Please share your coins from this period of the Empire. I'm looking at upgrading that Marcus Aurelius so anything you have there would be appreciated.