Ancient Coins

Ancient Coins Collecting is a challenging task, but it's the best way to enjoy and learn history of ancient civilizations.

As everyone knows, coins are a form of money or medium of exchange. In addition to coins and paper currency as we now know them, a wide variety of items have been used as money at different times in history, both prior to and after the invention of coins.

These items have included, beads, cigarettes, feathers, ivory, cattle, salt, shells, thimbles and wampum.

Ancient Coins

Ancient Greek Coins

The minting of coins spread rapidly from Lydia to the city states of ancient Greece. Around 600 BC , the island of Aegina produced what are believed to be the first Greek coins. These coins were known as silver drachmae and obols and depicted a turtle on the reverse, the symbol of Aegina.

The nearby Greek city state of Cornith soon followed Aegina and produced drachmae coins with the legendary figure of the winged horse Pegasus on the reverse.

The largest of the Greek city states was Athens which around 610 BC began producing very artistic coins often featuring an amphora or wine vessel design.

Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) established the practice of coinage throughout the Hellenic empires. His successors introduced portraits as a regular feature of their coinage designs thereby recording for posterity many images of ancient kings and rulers.

Ancient Athens Coins
Athenian Didrachm

Ancient Roman Coins

The Romans were the next major state to establish coinage on a large scale.
It is usual to date the first Roman coins from 269 BC when a mint for the striking of gold, silver and bronze coins was established in Rome.

Ancient Roman coinage often depicted a portrait of the then ruling emperor and, in some cases, members of the imperial family as well. These Roman "portrait" coins were skillfully engraved and are wonderful pieces of art and of interest to the historian.

Early Roman coins were often employed to disseminate political propaganda.
The inscriptions on the reverses of the coins frequently proclaimed the emperor's civic achievements or military triumphs. In some cases, very important events, such as the assassination of Julius Caesar, were depicted on the coinage.

Ancient Chinese Coins

It is hard to overstate the problem. The current market is overrun with fakes of ancient Chinese knife, spade, cash, and related cast bronze objects. Since about 1985 forgers in the PRC have developed new techniques in the service of faking bronze vessels and other antiquities of high value.

These techniques are easily applied to coins. Reportedly, dealers will take rare coins to these factories where they are reproduced, with the correct metal composition, patination color and type of soil adhesion proper to that dynasty and type. Traditional methods of forgery detection are impotent against these fakes, and the problem now extends down to some fairly inexpensive items.

Read more here.

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Ancient Gold Coins

Gold SolidusWith the latest ancient coin grading program provided by NGC - NGC Ancients you can finally have a collection of ancient coins with a piece of mind. You can purchase more than one thousand years old coin full of original luster from the online auction site, such as an Ebay at the comfort of your home. This opens new opportunities for ancient coin collectors who would like to have a collection of beautiful golden Roman empire coins.

NGC Ancient uses a new grading system and in the circulated grades strictly describes the amount of wear a coin has suffered; however, in the uncirculated grades it will take into account the overall appearance of the coin to distinguish among Mint State, Choice Mint State and Gem Mint State.

See our Coin Grading section for more information about Ancient Coin grading.

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Ancient coin education

You would need to have a latest information to make sure you are buying something valuable when considering buying ancient or antique coins. Forums are best source of this information, since they constantly get updated and reflect the best the concerns and useful information about coins.
Here are some of the forums, which you can find useful:
FORVM Ancient Coins
AncientsInfo

Ancient Coins News
07/27/2016
Ancient Coin Profiles: Carthaginian Gold & Silver 1 1/2 Shekel
At its peak, the ancient North African city of Carthage rivaled the Eternal City of Rome for military and economic control over the western Mediterranean Sea. Today, its ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the suburbs of the Tunisian capital. more info

07/27/2016
Coins and Early Christianity….
Here’s an interesting recent post by my friend Larry Hurtado on Christian graffiti on pagan coins… I was contacted a couple of weeks ago now to comment on a Roman-era coin recently acquired that exhibited marks indicative of Christian graffiti. more info

07/24/2016
11,000 pints of beer: Museum launches appeal to save thousands of coins from political upheaval of 4th century
An appeal which needs to raise more than £44,000 in four months has been launched by the Yorkshire Museum, aimed at saving a hoard of 1,857 Roman coins on the 1,710th anniversary of the death of Constantius, the Roman Emperor who is depicted on them ... more info

07/25/2016
More Noah’s ark headlines — this time at 5th-century synagogue excavation
Baylor coin specialist Nathan Elkins, assistant professor of art history, worked alongside a consortium of universities this summer in Huqoq, Israel, to excavate an ancient synagogue and discovered mosaics depicting the stories of Noah’s ark and the ... more info

07/25/2016
Armenian artifacts collections at AMA
July 26, 2016 PanARMENIAN.Net - The Museum’s collections hold over 20,000 artifacts, including: 5,000 ancient and medieval Armenian coins, over 3,000 textiles and 180 Armenian inscribed rugs, and an extensive collection of Urartian and religious ... more info

07/25/2016
10 Things We Wouldn’t Have Without Ancient Greece: #1: Maps
Some scholars, however, refute this claim, and there is an ongoing argument about the true origins of coins. However, it is undeniable that Ancient Greece popularized the use of coins as a form of payment–a system that was then adopted by the Romans and ... more info