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
06/24/2016
Skeletons, coins found in dig of ancient Pompeii shop
ROME – Italian and French archaeologists have discovered four skeletons and gold coins in the ruins of an ancient shop on the outskirts of Pompeii. Pompeii archaeological site officials said Friday the skeletons are those of young people, including an ... more info

05/23/2014
Why Museums Hate Ancient Coins
As collectors of ancient coins, one of the most Frequently Asked Questions we encounter is “Don’t these things belong in museums?” The answer, sometimes with a patient sigh, sometimes with a snort of derision, is an emphatic, “No!” The Dirty ... more info

04/29/2016
Enormous haul of ancient Roman coins unearthed in Spain
(CNN)More than 1,300 pounds (590kg) of bronze Roman coins dating to the 3rd century A.D. have been unearthed by construction workers digging a trench in Spain. more info

08/03/2014
Ancient Coins Returned to Greece, Ending U.S. Ordeal
Five ancient Greek coins that had nearly been sold at auction at the Waldorf-Astoria were returned on Monday to the Greek government, ending an unusual prosecution that roiled the coin-collecting world and led to the conviction of a prominent surgeon. more info

07/11/2014
Ancient Coins Found Buried in British Cave
An excavation at Reynard's Kitchen Cave in the UK unearthed 26 coins from the Iron Age and Roman period. Credit: Richard Davenport Photography Digging through a cave in central Britain, archaeologists uncovered 26 ancient gold and silver coins belonging to ... more info

11/25/2015
Cops bust antiquities dealer with over 3,000 ancient coins
Police and Israel Antiquities Authority agents on Tuesday arrested an art dealer from northern Israel after finding him with over 3,000 illegally obtained ancient coins — valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. The suspect, a resident of Kibbutz Beit ... more info