Nerva was born into an upper class family in a town about 50 miles outside Rome with some moderately successful relatives and ancestors and who entered the imperial service as a youth. The one notable gap in his education was a lack of expertise, or interest in, military matters, which almost terminated his already abbreviated reign shortly into it. As an upper class Roman in the Imperial service he did well, if not quite spectacularly, and supposedly saved Nero from a conspiracy (that of Piso). He seemed to be the kind of official who did his duty without creating much jealousy or antipathy (according to Dio Cassius, anyway). He managed to hold the friendship of Vespasian, Titus and even for a while that of Domitian (no mean achievement) until near the end when Domitian, in his paranoia at surviving an attempt on his life, started seeing would be assassins everywhere. Actually, this losing of Domitian's favor would help Nerva as, when one these phantom Domitian assassins turned out to be all too corporeal, the Senate, fearing another four emperors year in the offing decided Nerva was just the man on the scene who would be an excellent replacement for the not much lamented last of the Flavians. Most of the civilian population agreed, though the army was miffed at not being in on the choice and would make trouble for the new emperor. His reign, though brief, 96-98 AD, saw Nerva make decisions that showed him to be both intelligent and thoughtfully decent. True, he did turn on one group, the semi professional "informers" that Domitian had had on a permanent payroll, as Nerva found it disgusting that slaves and freedmen had informed on their masters and benefited from their executions. Other than these miscreants, Nerva launched no reprisals, even on those who had been involved in Domitian's murder. That is, until the Praetorian Guard of the army, who had always liked and respected the Flavians ( and were grateful for the pay raise Domitian had granted them) mutinied and demanded that the assassins be executed and they were. Nerva was decent but not heroically suicidal. He was also clever enough to keep the army at bay and so chose to do what everyone recalls of Nerva. He chose a popular commander, Marcus Ulpius Trajan, as his adopted son (Nerva had no children) and made him his successor and fellow consul. As for the decent part, Nerva sold much of his personal possessions and property and donated it to the governing of the empire, which had suffered some recent financial difficulties. Some of his generosity was for the orphaned children of Rome and he set up some kind of permanent funding for their welfare. He also aided the proletariat of Rome by purchasing rural tracts of land in Italy and settling them on those allotments with funding from the profit of loans to Rome's business community. He also, where he could, returned confiscated land to the surviving families of those murdered by Domitian. Had Nerva been a younger man (he was in his mid sixties when he was chosen by the Senate) or in better health and reigned for a longer period, he might have gone down in history as another "Pius", among the better rulers. It is interesting that the most dominant theme of his coinage was AEQUITAS, justice or fairness. And though brief was his reign, had he ruled longer, he might have been accorded that sobriquet by his contemporaries and historians. In any event he is considered to have been the first of Gibbon's "good emperors". Now for the coins. I only have two coins of Nerva. Though his coins are not rare, they are not especially common. The first is a copper As which reads IMP NERVA CAES AVG PM TR P COS III PP and on the reverse, LIBERTAS PVBLICA P P (something the Roman people appreciated after Domitian's last few years of tyranny). It weighs just over nine grams and is Sear 3064. The second coin is a denarius reading IMP NERVA CAES AVG TRPOT and on the reverse COS III PATER PATRIAE with priestly implements. It weighs 3.14 grams and is sear 952 (early edition). By the way, this second was my first ever Ancient coin, purchased in high school from the Philadelphia Gimbels store on Market Street for $10. If readers have any of Nerva's other coins, please post them, especially any of the AEQUITAS series.