Nerva. AD 96-98. Sestertius (Orichalcum, 34mm, 24.09 g 6), Rome, 97. IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P Laureate head of Nerva to right. Rev. VEHICVLATIONE ITALIAE REMISSA / S C Two mules grazing in opposite directions, released from their harnesses, which stand behind them. BMC 119. CBN 108. Cohen 143. RIC 93. A rare and historically significant piece with an attractive brown patina and an expressive portrait of Nerva. Slight corrosion, otherwise, very fine.
From a Swiss collection.
Most of Nerva’s bronze coins bear general types such as the personifications of Aequitas, Fortuna or Libertas, but a very small group issued in 97 records some particular, very interesting and historically important events. Beside PLEBEI VRBANAE FRVMENTO CONSTITVTO (RIC 89) or TVTELA ITALIAE (RIC 92) and a few others, the type shown here is surely among the rarest in Nerva’s bronze coinage. What does it tell us? The Vehiculatio was a taxation for the Imperial Post on the main roads. It included various charges for the disposition of animals and vehicles. They had to be provided by local authorities and were only insufficiently refunded by the government. In the matter of alleviating taxation Nerva exempted the people of Italy from paying those costs and celebrated his popular reform on this Sestertius. Following those reforms, in Italy the Vehiculatio was paid by the Fiscus itself. All the other provinces were still charged. The cursus publicus became one of the most important and largest governmental institutions in the Roman Empire.