My first denarius!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by savitale, May 3, 2021.

  1. savitale

    savitale Well-Known Member

    This is my first denarius and the second coin in my “one from every emperor” collection. I’m off to a slow start, but I’m so excited to be on the journey!



    Otho (32 – 69 CE, reigned 15 Jan – 16 Apr 69) is a somewhat controversial emperor. On the one hand, he seems to have been a principled individual given the accepted norms of his time. On the other, Otho probably holds the record for number of Roman soldier deaths per day on the throne.

    Initially a friend of Nero, their relationship soured when Otho married Nero’s mistress, Poppaea Sabina. To solve the love triangle problem Nero appointed Otho governor of the province of Lusitania (Portugal) – quite literally at the end of the Roman earth – and kept Poppaea for himself. Understandably, Otho held a grudge and supported Galba in his rebellion against Nero in 68, leading to Nero’s death. Only six months later, Otho turned on Galba after being passed over as named successor and arranged for the emperor’s assassination on January 15, 69 CE. Otho was proclaimed emperor the same day.

    While Otho set about finishing Nero’s fabulous Domus Aurea to the tune of half a million gold pieces, the army of Vitellius was already marching out of Germany for Rome. Poor Otho, barely king for a day, had to prepare for war as his life most certainly depended on it. Suetonius tells us that in his haste Otho failed to pay attention to the omens which 'were most unfavorable’. The armies met at Betriacum where the battle, depending on which source you read, ended inconclusively or with a crushing defeat for Otho – either way there was massive loss of life.

    Reinforcements for Otho’s army were on the way, and most authors suggest that his forces likely could have rallied and yet still won the war. But Otho, apparently aghast at the deaths of his countrymen and unwilling to be responsible for more, took a long drink of cold water, got a good night’s sleep, arose at dawn, and promptly stabbed himself through the left breast with a sharp dagger. Upon discovering his body, Suetonius writes that Otho’s soldiers, ‘kissed the dead man’s hands and feet, weeping bitterly, and praising him as the best man they had ever known’.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Otho! Wow! Go big or go home, eh?! Lovely coin!
  4. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ...well....thats a dan dee start!...very nice Otho! :)
  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

  6. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    "One from every Emperor" is pretty near impossible ... but maybe you're the one to achieve it? That is an amazing start.
    Great coin!
    My first ever denarius:

    Trajan, AD 98-117
    Roman AR denarius; 2.92 gm, 20.1 mm, 7 h
    Rome, AD 114-117
    Obv: IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC, laureate and draped bust, right
    Rev: P M TR P COS VI P P S P Q R, Mars walking right with spear and trophy
  7. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    It is a great coin to add. Congrats! :)
    Antonius Britannia and savitale like this.
  8. mightyknighty

    mightyknighty Member

    Its a good coin but don't let Roman 12 emperor fool you! I would start a gold collection of rare Mongol Ilkhanid coins instead! They have exquisite calligraphy and they are very artistic you can see some nice ones in next month Steve Album (I need get more loans for those next month)
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  9. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    WOW! First denarius an Otho - you certainly don't fool around. You may have had a slow start, but looks like you're really on your way.
  10. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    @savitale That is a great start. In April of 2015, I bought my first ancient coin. It was a denarius of Otho!

    A number of people over the years critiqued me for starting with Otho. My response was always to say that no one has any right to tell any other collector what they should collect or how they should do it.

    Congrats on a great purchase. I hope to see many more from you.
  11. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    That is a stellar start. Your goal, "one for every emperor", is very difficult, but if you keep on like this, you have your chances.

    As for starting with Otho, why not? if you found a (more than) decent example and you could afford it, you made a great decision.

    I would be happy even with a provincial in modest condition.
  12. Cinco71

    Cinco71 Member

    Starting with Otho! That must not have come with a small price tag. He'll end up being the last of my 12 Caesars set just because a nice one from him tends to cost more than I want to put into someone with such a short tenure in office. But then I also don't want just any old coin to fill his spot, so I'll just keep waiting until the cost and quality lines converge at a point I can justify.

    Then again, isn't that true of any coin?
  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Savitale, Nice score, excellent photos, & interesting write-up :happy:!
    savitale likes this.
  14. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The way auction prices are going these days, the new Twelve Caesars collector would do well to get Otho, Claudius, Calligula, Vitellius and Galba early. They aren't getting any cheaper, that's for sure!
  15. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Wow! Nothing like starting with one of the tough ones! I bought this Otho denarius fairly early in the game too. Here is my piece. The coin was "liberated" from an NGC Ch. VF slab with a 4/5 strike and 5/5 surface. The label was included with the flip.

    Otho ALL.jpg

    Another event that probably made Otho even angrier with Nero after the "Roman fiddler" stole his wife, was what happened to her after she married him. One day she apparently angered Nero, and he kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant. She died.

    I am fairly well along on my "one coin per emperor" collection. I am missing a few of the rulers between Julius Caesar and Constantine the Great who were in office long enough "to have a cup of coffee."

    The biggest name I'm missing is Pertinax, who ruled for three months in 193. The year 193 marked another of those periods of Roman political instability. There were five men in the mix to be the next emperor. One of them, Didius Julianus, paid a bribe to become emperor. All it got him was a quick death.

    Pertinax coins are around, but most of them are low grade, and it's hard to find one with all of lettering that is readable. I am going to have to decide if I am going to go beyond Constantine I.
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
  16. Harry G

    Harry G Well-Known Member

    Woah, that's an awesome start! Good luck when you get to emperors like Proculus, Silbannacus and Regalianus lol
    +VGO.DVCKS and savitale like this.
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I never heard of those guys. They are not on my list which runs to 465. Are you sure that they were emperors and not just caesars?
    +VGO.DVCKS and savitale like this.
  18. Harry G

    Harry G Well-Known Member

    They were technically usurpers, as they didn't become emperors with the agreement of the senate. Most of them were leaders of various uprisings and revolts, and were proclaimed 'emperor' by their troops. Their uprisings generally only lasted a couple of weeks, and so only about 2 coins of Silbannacus and Proculus are known to exist. I think both of the Silbannacuses are in museums and one of the Proculuses sold recently for £25,000. Coins of Regalian are a bit more plentiful, and tend to sell for £5000 - £10,000.

    There are a few more obscure usurpers like these (such as Jotapian, Pacatian and Bonosus). I only know about these ones as an antoninianus collector. They are the holy grails of the denomination to come across

    Don't feel you have to collect those though :)
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  19. romismatist

    romismatist Active Member

    They were regional usurpers
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  20. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Yes, I don't include the guys who "wanted to grab the brass ring" but never got it in my collection. There are more than enough really hard ones to get without asking for the impossible.

    My two biggest "investments" have been Gordian I and Gordian II.
  21. savitale

    savitale Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coin! Yours must be an awesome collection. I am also planning to focus on Augustus to Constantine I and then re-assess how to do the rest. It seems to get a bit messy after Constantine.
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