Nero (AD 54–68)
Roman, brass sestertius, 35 mm diameter, AD c.65. Head of Nero / Roma.
The head of the Roman emperor Nero on this coin is one of the finest numismatic portraits in the collection. The sophisticated treatment of the hair reflects the elegance of Nero's court. The high quality of the coinage of Nero suggests the artistic standards of the emperor himself. His famous last words were ‘What an artist dies in me'. The coin was struck not long after the great fire at Rome, at a time when the city was being rebuilt in spectacular fashion. The personification of Roma on the reverse may be considered as symbolic of the new city.