Otho spoke these words to his army before retiring to his study the night before he committed suicide by stabbing himself with a dagger. An unimaginable act in earlier times, previous Emperors were far too narcissistic to have done such a thing, caring only about themselves before their subjects. Otho is a complex figure that history has placed in a more favorable light since his death. His initial rise to power came about by capitalizing on Galba’s refusal to honor his offer to pay the Praetorian guards with gold, which led to his assassination. As with Galba, the coinage of Otho presents a sincere challenge to the astute collector, and all coins issued in his name are in very high demand. This Civil War Emperor struck no bronze, so collectors must compete for surviving silver and gold pieces. His denarii are quite scarce and his aurei are extremely difficult to find. He served for just 3 months as the second Emperor of the “Year of the Four Emperors.”
Among the top three ever graded by NGC, this denarius of Otho features a right-facing head of Otho on the obverse, and Securitas, goddess of security, on the reverse. For years, unscrupulous dealers in Europe have retooled (carved) the hair on Otho to achieve the look of this specimen, essentially damaging them forever. This piece has been remarkably maintained, and belongs in an advanced Twelve Caesars collection. There are only two graded finer at NGC.