The first one is how easy you can get these coins. The Roman coins are very easy to find in countries from Europe like Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, from Asia, like Turkey, Syria, or Africa like Egypt. The regions were occupied by the Romans in ancient times and coin finds are numerous and besides the collectors ’ interest in this sphere is large. But if you live in the USA or Australia, finding the coins you need can be hard and normally you must bring them from abroad or, if you buy them from a local grocery store, pay a little bit more, because of their scarcity on the local market .
But that is not all. In some cases, you can not take out from some countries ancient coins or artifacts, because of the laws. furthermore, in some countries, owning these coins is prohibited by law, with some exceptions. sol, before you start these collection, find out angstrom much as you can about the opportunities you have or the difficulties you may encounter. After deciding to start a collection and finding a market from where you can buy, you must think what you want to buy. First of wholly, a collection with all the noun phrase values. If you try to collect all these coins that circulated from the first hundred to the second century AD, you will need to find two aureate coins, an aureus and a quinarius aureus, two silver ones, the denarius and the quinarius argenteus, and five tan ones, the sestertius, the dupondius, the as, the semitrailer and the quadrans.
But to complete the collection you will need some serious money, finding an aureus below 2000 $ being a real prospect ( normally this coin is worth 4000-6000 $ ). A decent denarius can be found from 20 $ to 200 $, and it can be flush more expensive if it is a rare type. The sesterius is besides a small moment expensive, around 100-200 $, sometimes cheaper or not. The other tan coins are easy to find .
But the sum of money that you are uncoerced to give is not enough. For model, if you live in Germany, it will be pretty easy to find flatware or aureate coins on the local grocery store. Why ? Because the Roman Empire paid to the german populations large sums of money as subsidia, different gifts for different reasons. And the payment was made, of course, in cherished metallic element. But it is hard to find here bronze coins because these were hard to transport, a big number was necessity to make a big kernel of money and besides because these coins were subsidiary company neologism, that means that you need a central authority that will guaranty it ’ sulfur legal offer. In France for case, you can find decent tan coins or even silver but gold coins are very rare .
Depending on the money you have, you can collect only a especial type of coins. For example flatware denarii. The tan sestetius is besides an attractive option, due to its big dimensions ( normally 27 gr. and around 25-35 millimeter ) and its beautiful scenes. But even then you will try to find a more particular root. For example, a coin for each emperors from Augustus to Romulus Augustus ( 27 BC to 476 AD ). But it is hard to find them all, because there are hundreds of them. besides, some are rare, like Otho ( 69 AD ), Vitellius ( 69 AD ), Pescenius Niger ( 193 ) and many others but in some cases they are impossible to find, like Julian of Pannonia ( 285 ) or Valerius Valens ( 316 ). Some collectors try to concentrate on one dynasty like the Julio-Claudian one ( 14-68, Tiberius, Caligula, Nero ) or the Severian one ( 193-235, Septimius Severus, Caracalla, Geta, Heliogabalus, Severus Alexander ). You can besides decide to collect the coins minted for the emperor ’ s wife, mother, daughter, don and thus on. Some people collect these emperors starting from ancient sources. For exemplar, Suetonious Lives of the twelve Caesars, describing the lives from Caesar to Domitian.
Another theme of collecting, identical popular, is represented by the coins with the emperor butterfly on one side and a member of his family on the early. The arrant mint of this type is an aureus minted by Septimius Severus, with a reverse showing the face of Iulia Domna, his wife, and their two children on each side, Caracalla and Geta .
The character of Consecratio, types minted for a dead emperor soon after his death, normally showing him carried away by an eagle or on an altar, are besides an option .
normally, the Roman coins carry on the reverse gods or goddesses. Some people collect a particular deity. For example, the Mother of The Gods, Cybelle, or the goddess of love, Venus, or the god of war, Mars, or the goddess of wisdom of solomon, Minerva .
If you collect these types, you must know how to identify these gods. Each of them has some particular features. For model, Minerva is constantly wearing a round carapace and a spear and has on her point a helmet. Sometimes she is accompanied by her animal, an owl. The goddess of luck, Fortuna, is shown with a rudder and a profusion, a symbol of wealth. She can sit on a throne or can stand looking on one side .
A god can have different names. For example, Mars can be the idol of peace, Mars Pacificatori, or the god of victori, Mars Victor, or the deity of revenge, Mars Ultor with different images .
normally rare, in some cases the goddess is a personification of a defeated enemy. A womanhood that appears on the Trajan series of coins with the caption DACIA CAPTA ( the conquered Dacia ) is the personification of that state.
On the change by reversal military scenes can appear, weapons taken from the prisoners, like a sestertius of Antoninus Pius, showing some ancilla, particular shields .
Or possibly scenes with the emperor, in religious moments, like sacrificing before an altar, political ones, speaking in battlefront of the troops ( ADLOCVTIO AVGVSTI ) or the Senate, or military ones .
Another main problem is represented by the bogus coins. ever since the XVI century, making forge coins for profit was profitable business. One of the most celebrated counterfeit was the german Carl Becker, who lived in the foremost half of the nineteen hundred. He had a special give for this job and his creations are considered masterpieces, in some cases hard to identify as fakes. It is besides truthful that today his fakes are considered to be more expensive then the originals but the imposter is a imposter .
unfortunately, today, some fakes are identical dangerous for collectors. The fakes from the bulgarian educate are about perfect in some cases. besides the taiwanese fakes are starting to be more accurate then ever. lone with time and experience, these fakes can be avoided .
But in the end, you will decide what you want to collect. And even if you know that the collection will never be finished, as all the coin collections, the satisfaction will still be great when you add a newfangled beautiful piece to it.
Collecting Ancient Roman Coins Part II: Issuer
How to identify the. The issuer It is very important for a collector of ancient coins to properly identify the part that he has. A good and fast designation can help him when he buys that coin and can protect him from possible fraud or misunderstandings .
Of course, it is impossible to know all the coins. But knowing a few little things can be very utilitarian .
First of all, when you take in your hand a mint, it is identical important to know who issued it. For the Roman imperial coins, that person is constantly the emperor or one of his family members .
As every Roman, the emperor has a name that must follow certain rules. The diagnose is made up of 3 parts .
Let ’ s take Caesar for case. His list is Caius Iulius Caesar. Caius is the praenomen, or beginning name. Iulius is the nomen or nomen gentile, his family ’ sulfur name, and Caesar is the cognomen or nick appoint, in this case meaning either the bald or that he was born by cesarean delivery section. The poet ’ mho name, Publius Ovidius Naso follows the same rule, Naso being the cognomen and meaning “ big nose ”. sometimes the beginning name can be abbreviated as C for Caius, P for Publius, Ti for Titus Cn for Cnaeus and so on. besides, the name can carry more then one cognomen .
In legal matters, the diagnose besides contains another separate, the forefather ’ south name. This separate appears between the nomen and the cognomen and it is accompanied by the rule filius, “ the son of… ” For example, Caesar ’ s don was besides Caius, so his full name is Caius Iulius Caii filius Caesar. Translated : Caius Julius Caesar, son of Caius .
The emperor ’ randomness name is basically the same .
When augustus took the supreme power in the Roman State, he changed his diagnose. His official name was from this moment on Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus .
Imperator was his first base name. It was the name of the function that he had. In modern times it can be assimilated as fieldmarschal althrough in all the modern languages it gave the word “ emperor butterfly ”. This name conferred to a person a high military authority .
Caesar was his adoptive forefather ’ s cognomen but for augustus it is his family name, to suggest his close association with him .
Divi Filius means “ the son of the divine ( Caesar ) ” and gives him religious authority, as son of a god .
Augustus was his cognomen and means at the same time, sacred and authority .
All the emperors that came after Augustus kept this formula of the list, adding some more cognomens, normally representing some functions and of course changing the don ’ randomness name. In time, the names became more and more building complex. For example, an aureus of Trajan has the follow legend around the emperor ’ s steer : IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM. On the early side, the following separate is PONT MAX TR POT COS II .
IMP is Imperator .
CAES is the abbreviation for Caesar .
The following part of the name is missing but it can be understood as NERVAE FILIUS, the son of Nerva, his adoptive imperial father .
NERVA TRAIAN is Nerva Traianus. The presence of the Traian formula shows that it can not be merely the emperor Nerva .
AVG is Augustus .
GERM stands for Germanicus, the winner of the german population. These exultant names are given in the honor of the great imperial victories over savage populations. These titles were used by an emperor for imperial propaganda and played the role of cognomen. besides, the abbreviation can appear as DAC, PARTH, SARM, GOTH and so on, for Dacicus, Parthicus, Sarmaticus, Gothicus …. In some cases the formula MAX is added at the end, and means MAXIMUS. For case, Germanicus Maximus means the supreme winner over the Germans. Because this claim was given after crucial battles which were won, their presence or the absence is an significant hint in dating the mint more precisely .
PONT MAX or sometimes entirely P M means Pontifex Maximus, sovereign priest, an important function. It can merely be given to the emperor himself at the get down of the reign. even if there are two emperors simultaneously on the enthrone, only one can be Pontifex Maximus .
TR POT is the abbreviation for Tribunicia Potestatis, a routine that means tribune of the people. This is the most crucial dating detail. Every year, on the 10th of December, the emperor butterfly and only he took this routine. It is represented on the coin as the first ( number I=1 is omitted yet from II=2 forth ) .
COS II means Consulus 2 or Consul bismuth, that is “ consul for the second base time ” and it means that he was or is consul for the second time. It is besides a dating clue, because Trajan was consul 7 times. This function is one of the most important, being assimilated with the modern flower minister function .
other 2 names and abbreviations are missing from this coin .
The first one is P P or pater patriae, the father of the country. It constantly appears at the end of the list and it must not be taken by error as P M .
Another important serve is CENS or Censor, responsible with the morales. Every 5 years, the censor ordered a population total and besides studied the structure of the Senate. If he considered necessity he appointed fresh members or put out old ones for ethical motive problems. Because it was a function that gave big office, it was about entirely used by the emperor. Sometimes the word PERPETUUS is added, this mean that he is “ constantly Censor ” .
In clock time, the legend became more complex or more simplified. besides, the letters were changed. For example, in the third gear hundred the mannequin IMP was sometimes written IIIIIP because of the method acting of writing the M. furthermore, about all the emperors were using the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus with the imperial names and confusion can happen .
Collecting Ancient Roman Coins Part III: Dating
How to identify the Roman coins. The date .
After you find out the coin ’ mho issuer, you must find as much information as you need about the accurate mint date. The emperor ’ s reign years are very well to start with, but this is only general .
The emperor ’ s official name has adequate clues to help you. In some cases you can figure out even the calendar month. In other cases, you can only find out a sealed menstruation of time, shorter then the reign years ; however, this is better than nothing .
Every part of the emperor butterfly ’ mho appoint is taken by him in specific events. The bearing or the absence of one name is a hint .
Let ’ s take one silver denarius of Septimius Severus, 193-211.
On one side, the question and the caption L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP X. on the other side P M TR P V COS II P P .
The diagnose starts with the formula IMP CAES, but here it can be understood without being written. The letter L is the standard abbreviation for Lucius, the foremost diagnose of the emperor and SEPT SEV for Septimius Severus. PERT is the name of the adopted beget, Pertinax, emperor for 63 days in 193. AVG means Augustus and it represents his title taken in 193, at the begin of his reign. IMP has an matter to site, it means Imperator. Imperator was his foremost diagnose but it besides indicates a serve, similar to the general ( or better said fieldmarschal ), a glorious style given to a soldier after a bang-up victory. The foremost Imperial entitle is taken at the moment of rising to world power and after this moment it can be given frequently. Septimius tenth imperial title was taken in 197 and before 198, his eleventh imperial title .
PM means Pontifex Maximus and it is a title took in 193 and kept until his death in 211 .
TR P V means his fifth tribunate, started at 10 december 196 and ended at 9 december 197. The following sidereal day he started his sixth tribunate .
COS II means consul for the second clock time. The first one took plaza in 194 ( actually in year 189 he was consul suffectus or temp, a junior-grade serve ) and the second gear in 194. The third started in the year 202 so by this style, the coin is minted between 1 january 194 and 31 december 201 .
PP stands for Pater Patriae, the don of the area, and it is taken in 193 .
All this information gives a precise date. This mint was minted somewhere between 197 and 198 .
As I said, the absence of some elements can be a clue. For case, Septimius took the title Parthicus in 198. The absence of this title means that the mint is minted before 198. Or after 202, his name starts as SEVERVS PIVS AVG…. that can besides be a dating clue .
Of course, all this data is heavily to remember but, in prison term, with experience, it will be more and more easily to date a mint. here are other tips :
- From Augustus to Trajan, no emperors have a beard. Except Nero who appears with whiskers.
- The first century coins, especially the ones which date from 14-69 have a head that has a long neck. Moreover, they don’t have any kind of clothes.
- The Flavian dynasty (69-98, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian) is easy to identify by the round heads, with wrinkles.
- From Trajan onwards, the emperor usually has a cloth or military armour.
- From Hadrian onwards, most of the emperors have a beard.
Collecting Ancient Roman Coins Part IV: Identify
How to identify the Roman coins. The coins
From Augustus to Diocletian 27 BC-286 AD .
It is very authoritative that after you by rights identify the issuer of the coin and you date it correctly, to identify the noun phrase of the mint. Unlike the advanced times, when the rate of the mint is clearly stated on it, in ancient times, the measure was known by the system of weights and the diameter of the mint .
here are the independent coins of the period 27 BC-286 BC
Aureus – a coin made from gold, as its mention states. It was first minted around 210 BC but it was an exotic mint, with a senior high school value. The republican pieces are normally rare .
From Augustus, it was a aureate coin of high purity, around 23 kelvin, and a system of weights of 7.9-8 gr. and a diameter of 19-21 millimeter. It had a value of 25 silver denarius. On one side, the head of the emperor appears or, more rarely, a extremity of his family. On the other side, different scenes are presented .
From the time of Nero, the slant drops from 64 ad to around 7.6-7,7 gr. and from the second hundred AD to around 22 kilobyte of gold. From the time of Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla the slant was around 6,5-7 gr. In the third gear hundred the system of weights was very different from emperor butterfly to emperor, in the context of the crisis. The slant went from 3,5 to 5,5 gr. Diocletian besides minted some aureus around 5,4 gr .
The aureus is a very rare coin. A normal value for this coin is around 3000-4000 $. In some cases, like a rare emperor or a rare reverse, the coin can well go over 10.000 $. normally, these coins have circulated quite a snatch and a good mint is not rare, like a VF. A UNC, however, is identical hard to find .
Quinarius aureus – the aureate half. It represented ½ of an aureus and besides half of its weight. It is a rare mint, rarely seen in circulation. It was minted on rare occasions. It weights around 4 gr. and has a exchangeable front as the aureus. From the one-third hundred, because of the more and more light aureus, it disappeared from circulation .
These coins are very rare and expensive, even more than the aureus .
Denarius is the standard coin in the roman organization. It is made from silver and that ’ s why it is sometimes named as denarius argenteus. It values 1/25 from a gold aureus and 16 asses .
In the republican time, it was first minted around 210 BC. In the beginning, it valued entirely 10 bronze asses, therefore named denarius ( from decem, which means ten ) .
It weighed around 4,4 gr. in the begin. Augustus minted denarius at around 3,9 gr. From 64 AD, Nero minted them around 3,5 gr. In the second century, the coin dropped to around 2,5-3,3 gr but pieces of 3,8 are not strange .
The diameter was around 17-18 millimeter for the denarius in the first century. At the begin of the irregular hundred, it was around 18-20 millimeter. Starting with the inaugural function of the reign of Septimius Severus, it was a more blockheaded and modest coin, around 15-17 mm but from the moment separate of the predominate, after 202, it became thin and large, around 18-21 millimeter .
The choice of the argent was around 90-93 %, in the begin. From the reign of Trajan, 98-117, it was round 70-80 %. Septimius Severus minted denarius at around 50-70 %. sometimes, these coins were made from bronze and only silver plated .
In the third century, in the context of inflation, its value dropped and after 238 it can rarely be seen in circulation .
This mint is one of the most common for the Roman Empire. It was minted in big quantities. Most of them are valued today at 20-50 $ a pieces of medium condition and not indeed rare. In some cases, for case a rare emperor or rare reverse can have a high rate, around 1000 $ or evening higher. normally the Consecratio subject or the family coins, with more than one member are rare .
besides, this coin is hard to find in decent condition. even a VF is sometimes hard to find, because these coin circulated for a long period of time. A XF is about a dream .
Quinarius argenteus represents half a denarius. It is made from silver and has a weight of half this mint, around 1,2-1,7 gr. It is similar to the denarius. It is a very rare coin, hard to find and normally expensive .
Antoninianus has a rate of 2 denarius. It was introduced in 215 and as a classifiable feature of speech, the emperor ’ south head has a radiate crown, while the empress has a lunar crescent over her shoulders. It had a diameter of 23-25 millimeter and initially a weight of 5,5. The silver contentedness was merely 50 % .
After 238, it lost weight, to around 4,5. After 251 it became a bronze mint, with only 3-5 % argent. besides, it was light, around 3 gr. flush so, easy pieces can be found. Aurelianus, 270-275, tried to improve this coin but failed. It disappeared from circulation after diocletian reform .
Sestertius is a quarter of a denarius. It was originally made from flatware but Augustus mints this coin in tan. It normally bears the notice HS as a symbol of value .
It has a diameter of 25-40 millimeter, and a weight of 25-27 gr. normally, it has superb scenes on the back, because of the large available space. In the one-third century, it started to lose value and weight, after the irregular half of the hundred it disappeared from the market .
normally, this coin is hard to find. A fine exemplar can go from 100 to 300 $. Cheaper pieces can be found. besides, depending on the back, they can be much more expensive .
Some of the most outstanding pieces are the ones with buildings. For exemplar the one dedicated by Nero in respect of his Ostia seaport .
Dupondius was a mint made from orichalcum, a bronze alloy. It weights around 13 gr. and the diameter can vary in size. It was adequate to ½ sestertius or two asses. After 64, its classifiable punctuate was the radiate pate that stands on the emperor ’ s oral sex .
These coins are barely, so far adequate pieces can be found .
As is the basis of the Roman currency. It was a unit made from bronze. During the republican time, it had unlike weights, from 1,5 kg ( aes ill-bred ), being minted as ingots. It soon lost its weight and became a coin ( aes scratch ) with a weight unit of 327 gr. In 89 BC, the slant was considered equal to one ounce ( aes uncial ). Augustus minted asses at around 10-11 gr. It was made of bronze. The first century pieces are childlike and inexpressive but normally rare. The moment and third base century pieces are common .
The price of this coin can vary. It is very difficult to find a thoroughly timbre man .
Semis was a measure unit ever since the republican times. It is a rare coin, very rarely minted. It was half of an equally, as the name states ( semis=half ) .
Quadrans was ¼ of an arsenic, as the name states ( quadrans=quarter ). besides a rare mint. Was minted ever since republican times. In the imperial clock time, it was rarely minted. Lots of collectors have the leaning to take the fake denarii, made from tan, as quadrans. The chief deviation is the dash. The quadrans have a little negligent view .
It was the less valuable coin in circulation. Cicero uses the word quadrantaria to describe something very bum
For more data on Roman coins please read the following in our mint articles
Collecting Ancient Roman Coins Part V- last pagan Emperor .
Roman coins, class neologism
Gold coin Emperor Trajan
Rare roman mint Valerius
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