Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Otho

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minted in Rome

Postcard of Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Otho.
© National Museums Scotland

Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Otho

This silver coin was minted in Rome by the emperor Otho in 69 AD. It is a type called a denarius, the most common Roman silver coin. This picture shows the obverse of the coin.

The obverse has the bare head of Otho looking to the right. The legend 'IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P' identifies the emperor and abbreviates his titles.

Silver denarii of the Roman empire generally have a portrait of the emperor or his family on the obverse. This well-preserved coin shows the high quality of portraiture - one can picture what Otho looked liked.

The Roman currency system included the denarius (plural: denarii), a small silver coin, as the most common coin in circulation. Classical historians regularly say that in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire the daily wage for a laborer was one denarius. The denarius was first struck in 211 BC during the Roman Republic, valued at 10 asses, giving the denarius its name which translates to "containing ten". In 118 BC it was re-tariffed at 16 asses, to reflect the decrease in size of the As. The As was a bronze or copper coin. The denarius continued to be the main coin of the empire until it was replaced by the antoninianus in the middle of the 3rd century AD.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-490-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.C10496
Date: 69
Minted in 69 AD
Material: Silver. Inscription: Obv. IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P; head of Otho, bare, r. / Rev. SECURITAS P R; Securitas standing l.
Dimensions: 19.00 mm D / Die Axis: 6.0
What: Coin Type: RIC 12
Coin, denarius
Subject: Ancient Coin Collection
Who: Otho
Where: Italy, Rome
Roman Empire
Description: Silver denarius of Otho, Rome, AD 69
  • Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage. From 31 BC to AD 69. Vol. 1, revised ed. London: Spink and Son Ltd, 1984. 
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