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Otho - my latest ancient


GregH

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I try and find the best coin I can afford of every Roman emperor. For rulers like Otho, this is tough - his coins are neither affordable, and it’s hard to find one with fine style. But I’m quite pleased with my latest Otho upgrade - a tetradrachm from Antioch:

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Otho (69AD)

Denomination: AR TetradrachmMint: Antioch

Obverse: ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤΩΡ ΜΑΡΚΟC ΟΘΩΝ ΚΑΙCΑΡ CEΒΑϹΤΟC around laureate head of Otho to right

Reverse: Eagle with spread wings standing on a wreath to left, holding wreath in his beak, palm branch to left, EΤΟΥϹ Α below
Reference: Prieur 102, McAlee 315, RPC 4200

It’s one of only a handful of coins I’ve purchased this year - home renos and a mortgage are taking their toll!

How did everyone else go with Otho - usually the last emperor people collect to complete their 12 Caesars set? Let’s see what you’ve got!
 

 

 

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Wonderful. I wouldn't mind an Antioch tet. of his.

I have Alexandrians.

othotet.jpg.202ab49d19fc5e5c261c56042370d665.jpg

Otho (69 A.D.)
Egypt, Alexandria
Billon Tetradrachm
O: AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, LA (year 1) lower right.
R: EΛEY-ΘEPIA, Eleutheria (Liberty) standing left, wreath in extended right hand, scepter in left hand, leaning with left elbow on column, simpulum (ladle used for tasting and pouring sacrificial libations) left in lower left field.
12.58g
24.4mm
Milne 359; RPC I 5354 (5 spec.); Dattari 327; BMC Alexandria p. 25, 208; Curtis 238; Kampmann 18.6; Emmett 184

Ex. Jyrki Muona Collection

This variety with a simpulum on the reverse is much rarer than the same type without this control symbol. RPC reports only 5 specimens with the simpulum and 17 specimens without it. This variety is missing from the important collections in Cologne, Paris, and Milan, and we know of only one example offered at auction in the past two decades (CNG 76, 12 Sep 2007, lot 3152, VF, $430 plus fees).otho1.jpg.e2e248969298babfb7ae29f52b73bb2e.jpg

Otho (69 A.D.)
Egypt, Alexandria
Billon Tetradrachm
O: ΑΥΤΟΚ ΜΑΡΚ ΟΘΩΝΟΣ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ, laureate head right; L A (date) to right.
R:ΡΩΜΗ, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Roma right, holding shield and spear.
13.4g
23mm
Dattari (Savio) 330; K&G 18.9; RPC I 5362; Emmett 186.1

 

 

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I splurged on this one last year after seeing it in hand at a local show. Paid too much but I'm a sucker for nice brown patinas.

Roman Egypt, Alexandria. Otho. AD 69. AE Diobol (25mm, 8.57g, 12h). Dated RY 1 (Jan-Apr AD 69). Obv: MAPK OΘΩN K[AI]Σ ΣEB AYT; Laureate Bust right. Rev: Draped bust of Isis right, wearing solar disk and horns; L-A (date) to right. Ref: Köln - ; Dattari (Savio) 333; K&G 18.15; RPC I 5369; Emmett 190.1 (R1). A few scratches in obverse field and several striking splits, otherwise about Very Fine. Very Rare, better than either example illustrated in RPC. Several examples on AcSearch and Coinarchives are misattributed as RPC I 5368, but this coin is as good as any illustrated with this obverse legend. From the Richard Plant collection. Ex DNW Auction (9 Feb 2021), Lot 640.image.jpeg.3869dcfc43b4824edd84b7303d5ffce5.jpeg

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I have an Antioch bronze from Otho. I paid a low price for it because it was not fully attributed 

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Syria, Seleucis and Pieria. Antiochia ad Orontem. Otho. AD 69. Æ 14.97 g.
IMP M OTHO CAE(S) AVG (clockwise), laureate head of Otho, r. / S C, inscription in a laurel wreath of eight leaves. Countermarked - Howgego 245 - Athena facing right with shield and spear
RPC I 4318, BMC 207, 209–11, McAlee 321c

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That's a nice looking Otho, congratulations! Below my only coin of Otho. I find his coinage not very interesting, so I'm happy with just this one. When finding denarii of Otho, Caligula and Claudius for my 12c's set in silver, I had most trouble finding an afforable denarius of Caligula. The latest Leu auction had some lower-end Otho denarii for sale, with some of them showing a fine portrait of Otho. They wen't for okay prices in my opinion. I would say my Otho is a lower-end specimen, with an okay portrait. It was affordable, but it's already back in 2015. 

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Excellent tet @GregH, I wouldn't mind having it in my trays with my other Syro-phenician tets !

I only have a denarius, but it pleases me everytime I see it/hold it, since I bought it 20+ years ago (I couldn't afford it nowadays I guess)

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Otho, Denarius - Rome mint, 69 CE
IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, Bare head of Otho right
SECURITAS PR, Securitas standing left
3.50 gr
Ref : RIC # 8, RCV #2162, Cohen #17

Q

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image.png.da3d77c408552fcf076bcf19b9604879.pngimage.png.1c39d5b9e72256e4fcb4a83bd0eadd82.png

Otho. AD 69. AR Denarius (18.5mm, 3.02 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck 15 January-9 March AD 69.
OBV: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, draped bust right
REV: SECVRI TAS P R, Securitas standing left, holding wreath in right hand and scepter in left
3.06g. 18mm.

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  • Benefactor

No Otho for me, but I appreciate seeing everyone's coins. His denarii are just too expensive for me to be able to buy an example that clearly depicts his elegant hairpiece. And although I've been tempted several times to buy Othos from Roman Alexandria, which certainly can be affordable, they just don't look anything like him -- much less so than most Provincials vs. Imperials, presumably because his reign was so brief.

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28 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

No Otho for me, but I appreciate seeing everyone's coins. His denarii are just too expensive for me to be able to buy an example that clearly depicts his elegant hairpiece. And although I've been tempted several times to buy Othos from Roman Alexandria, which certainly can be affordable, they just don't look anything like him -- much less so than most Provincials vs. Imperials, presumably because his reign was so brief.

Yep, in @GregH example, he has a Nero hairdo, hence my comment about the portrait! Antioch was a long way to send an official portrait considering the shortness and instability of Otho's rule!

Suetonius states that Otho's hairpiece was imperceptible, but the coins tell a different story! The engravers even seem to differentiate between the natural hair at the back, and the blatant wig on the top. Perhaps that is simply the way the wigs were made however.

 

He had the hair of his body plucked out, and because of the thinness of his locks wore a wig so carefully fashioned and fitted to his head, that no one suspected it.

Suetonius: Life of Otho - Chapter 12

Edited by Steppenfool
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Very nice, congratulations and enjoy your Otho!

Since I had a nasty experience with a fake coin (which in the end I got a refund) I now often use this page from Ilya Prokopov to check fake ones:
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/fakes/. It seems there are many fake coins from Otho unfortunately, so I would be very cautious when bidding/bying. Otho is still on my wish list, so.. I'm mostly saying this to myself. 😉 

 

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  • 4 months later...

Now I've also got an Otho. But only a "provincial" Otho from Syria. As you can see, the portrait has nothing to do with the Roman city portrait of Otho - the lack of knowledge of the die cutter, who simply used a portrait similar to that of Nero, is unmistakable.

 

Marcus Salvius Otho; Reign: Otho, Roman Imperial; Mint: Antiochia ad Orontem, Syria; Date: January - April 69 AD; Nominal: Tetradrachm; Material: Silver; Diameter: 25/27.5mm; Weight: 15.16g; Reference: Wruck 63; Reference: Prieur 101; Reference: RPC I 4199; Obverse: Laureate head of Otho, right; Inscription: ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤωΡ Μ ΟΘΩΝ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ϹΕΒΑϹΤΟϹ; Translation: Autokrator Marcos Othonos Kaisaros Sebastos; Translation: Imperator Marcus Otho Caesar Augustus; Reverse: Eagle with wreath in beak on wreath, left; to left, palm branch; between legs, crescent; Inscription: ΕΤΟΥϹ Α; Translation: Etous Alpha; Translation: Year one.

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