Roman Empire, Trajan - An Exemplary Specimen

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Well centred and boldly struck, this aureus possesses a brilliant and mirror-like mint lustre; it is both a highly impressive and visually exceptionally pleasing coin. Aged forty-five when this coin was issued, the portrait here is of a vigorous and forceful ruler in the prime of his life. After the peaceful but politically strained rule of the aged Nerva, the seamless transition of power into the hands of a popular general who was already named Caesar and a serving consul when the emperor passed must have seemed like nothing less than a total (and near miraculous) rejuvenation of the principate. Indeed, the early years of the reign of Trajan were hailed as the beginning of a new golden age, a time of peace and prosperity which would last for nearly a century until the megalomania of Commodus and his ruinous fiscal policies wrought an inevitable return to civil war and economic decline.

The aurei of Trajan, like those of his predecessor Nerva, are most difficult to find in such exemplary condition. This is on account of the predominantly peaceful state of affairs within the Roman territories at this time, and the economic stability this conferred. There was consequently very little hoarding of newly-minted coins as is associated with times of uncertainty or war.

Trajan AV Aureus. Rome, AD 98-99. IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate head right / P M TR P COS II P P, Fortuna standing left, holding rudder set on prow with her right hand and cornucopiae with her left. BMC 31; Woytek 53a; Calicó 1042; Hill 50; RIC 4; Biaggi 501. 7.30g, 18mm, 8h.

Fleur De Coin. Rare, and in exceptional state of preservation.