Achievement Unlocked

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Suarez, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member


    After almost 20 years I've finally reached a milestone of 3/4 complete in my quest to get one of each of the Roman emperors (and empresses, and usurpers, etc.) I'm quickly getting to the point where filling more slots is likely to cost $1,000 or more for nicely graded specimens. Being realistic, my goal at this point will probably shift more towards upgrading. Or maybe just let it go dormant and pursue something else.

    This is merely a snapshot. The interactive grid where I've written a little informal bio and larger pics can be seen at

    The Roman imperial set is the most popular among the collection goals of ancient coin enthusiasts. With nearly 200 rulers, many of whom were quite obscure, few collectors get very far. As far as I know only one person managed to (nearly) complete the set and this was well before the digital age. For this reason many Roman coin collectors cut back to a more realistic goal such as the "12 Caesars" type set or cutting out the usurpers. As with modern coins, others prefer to focus on just one or a handful of people or to a narrow time frame or to a theme such as animals, architecture, etc.

    I know we all have way too many coins to post in a thread. So please share your collections goals and what made this particular route click with you. Most importantly, please share how your collection could one day be considered "complete".

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  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Eye of Horus

    I think I see a Jotapian in there which probably will never be available to me as a collector, along with others like Regalian, Sponsianus, etc. I am determined to get a Domitius Domitianus which will be around $1500 but well worth it. I am at about 80% of rulers and will do the best I can to complete the set before handing the collection to my heirs in about 30-35 years probably. Filling out the Imperial Ladies is an area where I have been a bit lacking but am focusing on now. Congrats on the fine collection!
  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    What a great set @Suarez ! And quite a lofty goal.
    FFIVN and I do not yet have a "goal" in mind with our collecting. Right now, we are enjoying collecting a bit of anything and everything that we can afford and that interests in some way. We love learning all we can. I guess that is our goal. To learn as much as we can :)
  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ah, very good! :).. it's an honorabe goal, i'm seeing how many i can get and am getting close to that very expensive place, but still have a few to go that are less expensive too..great job..i most iikely will never see it completed but that's ok, then i' ve always got sompin to strive for..:)
    Carl Wilmont and Justin Lee like this.
  6. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    What coin was the one to get you to this milestone? I’d like to see it and hear a bit about it!
  7. Gary R. Wilson


    I remember telling Tom Cederlind some years ago my desire to collect as many Roman emperors and family that I can . He kept telling me that collecting a complete set was next to impossible. I concurred but every time I told him my goals, he said the same thing. LOL. My simple goal is to collect what I like at the time I see it-if possible. This is my third and final (I think) time at building a collection and I have narrowed my collecting to Roman Imperial sestertii, some denarii and middle bronzes mainly from the early to mid Empire. This hobby is just too addicting!
    Roma and Roman Collector like this.
  8. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    I quit building sets years ago. I got stressed/disappointed when I reached a point where the only thing left was coins that I couldn't afford. Now, I just buy what I like and enjoy the pictures of what everyone else buys.

    The funny thing (to me) is that I can now afford to fill a lot of those wholes in sets but have no desire to. To me, it is more fun to collect without specific goals.

    By the way, no offense intended at all. Your collection is incredible and something to be proud of. We all do things our own way.
  9. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    Well, not much a story really. In both cases replacements for coins sold. One of either of these two which showed up in the last few days.
    an Orbiana

    And this Titus which features a creature that is equal parts mouse, pig and baby mammoth:

    Buying the Orbiana left me with a really sour aftertaste. It came from Numismatik Naumann who gave me really crappy service. First the they tacked on a post-sale €13 fee for the hell of it. No satisfactory explanation given. They were not going to send it until I paid them their extra money. Then they added insult to injury by not sending the coin for a full two months afterwards because they had "no record" of receiving the additional €13 payment even though I provided a screenshot of the Paypal with the transaction id. Only after taking the issue to Paypal did I get an automated email from Naumann saying the coin was on its way - no apology. Needless to say, I won't be buying from Naumman again.

  10. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Good going, Rasiel!

    Maximinus should be a relatively cheap slot to fill, impressive to have a Clodius Macer.

    I have a few goals:
    • For the past several years, I've mostly been pursuing Roman Republican coins - pretty much anything in Crawford, I try to obtain. I've got about 700 at the moment and may get reasonably close to the goal in another 20 years. It won't be possible to collect everything - some coins are made of Unobtainium and there are many side avenues down which to get sidetracked - e.g. I have 10 Cr. 340/1 denarii now with different control marks. Maybe side collections to investigate all the control marks and of course the Eraviscan imitations, which are interesting too. I think I will be buying fewer coins as time goes by, but probably spending as much, or more. I'm not sure when I'll decide I'm finished with the goal - maybe when the remaining coins are so expensive that I can afford only one or two a year.
    • Emblematic coins of Greek cities - this is a slow-moving goal - Pegasus of Corinth, Wrestlers of Aspendos, Owl of Athens, Turtle of Aigina, etc., etc. In this effort, I've probably got reasonable examples of coins of most of the better-known cities, but there are always more cities and varieties - e.g. the several owl types, plus the earlier sea turtles and later land tortoises of Aigina and why stop at Corinth - many related cities had Pegasus on their coins too.
    • Coins of Sicily - just because they're beautiful - someday, maybe I'll get a decadrachm and blow the budget for a year or two. A few years ago, I had a week between jobs and went to Sicily and drove around, to see where the great coins came from. I visited the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum in Syracuse and its a wonderful collection of coins - I counted 29 decadrachms in one display case (the number stuck in my head). I had thought that the Kimon tetradrachm of Syracuse was the most beautiful ancient coin; after visiting, I've changed my mind - Herakleidas's tetradrachm of Katane struck me as even better. Can I get one? Possibly - though right now it would mean flogging most or all of my other coins to pay for it.
    • Irish coins - on the back burner, but I usually add a few a year - aim is to get something representative from Hiberno-Norse to the Euro.
    • UK coins - I started off collecting pre-decimal Irish and UK coins, so still add to the UK ones from time to time - the only coin I bought at a recent show was a very nice BU 1887 florin.
    • Celtic coins - only a few a year, but I guess it counts! If the ancient Irish had minted coins, this would be my main area.
    The whys of the collecting goals are hard to reason. I randomly fell into Roman Republican coins partly by buying several coins because I was giving a talk at the local coin society and wanted some coins to illustrate it with and got sucked in. I bought a few coins of Emporion and books about them because I saw a roadside sign "Ruinas" one day in Spain near Girona and spent a lovely day getting sunburnt clambering over said ruinas. The more modern coins I collect to some extent because they're how I started out and the pre-decimal coins are quite attractive.

  11. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Supporter! Supporter

    I really like that interactive grid. You have a very nice collection.
    Carl Wilmont likes this.
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wow. An amazing collection, beautifully displayed. Maximinus Thrax will definitely be the easiest square to fill, by far (almost 300 available on V-coins right now); are you sure his omission isn't an error? It's not hard to find Aquilia Severa, Elagabalus's second wife, either. Same with Tranquillina, assuming you're willing to go with a Roman Provincial coin. (I noticed those three because I have them, and if I can find a coin of someone, anyone can!) Good luck on Silbannacus and Domitian II and Saturninus -- I'm sure those will turn up any day now if you go metal detecting!
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  13. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    Thanks folks. The grid can also be arranged by rarity (which the software does automatically). Anyone can sign up for a free account on Tantalus and get a grid which auto-populates according to the names as entered on the records.


    These coins are for sale... explaining why the odd hole of Maximinus. They're for sale but selling is not my goal (and there's definitely no bargains to drive home the point).

    I'd die happy if I could score a couple more on the bottom row :- )

  14. Luke B

    Luke B Member

    Wow! Such an incredible collection! Especially that Divo Romulo. The few that I have seen in auctions since I started collecting haven't been close to that quality.

    Collecting a complete set of every emperor is really a daunting task, which is why my goals are much smaller.

    My current short term goal is to complete a set of all the main emperors from 293-337 AD. Not considering usurpers (besides Maxentius who is much more affordable).

    Longer term goal is to eventually get some more books on ancient coinage and to collect the various different denominations issued during Rome's history.

  15. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Excellent RIC grid Rasiel. I checked and am at about 2/3 of it, even though completing the set isn't a goal for me : I just cherrypick the ones that talk to me.

    As for my goals, I'm trying to complete a Dombes principality set (types and years, but not the too numerous legend variations, that would be infinite...). I'm at 70% of it, some of the last ones will be tough to get...

    I've had in the past some very modest goals, such as the Trajan Decius Divi series and Plautilla denarii, both achieved, but it took many years at the end



    I've started other sets too, but on a more dilettant mode, such as Syro-phenician tetradrachms, Diana Lucifera reverses, She wolf suckling twins reverses.
    Why those ?
    I don't know. I mean, I really don't know. I think the theme chooses you rather than the opposite.

    On a more modern side of coin collecting I have a british coins series, with no particular goal other than trying to get reasonnably well preserved types as cheap as I can, in loving memory of my best friend Pete (an english guy) who passed away seven years ago and whose partner found a box full of british coins that she gave me after his funeral. I have to pursue that !

    And, last but not least, I have a complete/uncomplete set of 40 french coins (funny enough, I just showed it off yesterday on the world coins forum). It's complete as it's already 40 coins (an Abafil minibring with 2x20 cases). It's uncomplete as I try to upgrade it with very significant coins illustrating french History. There are too many modern coins at the moment, but it's a work in progress. For those who have already seen the set in the WC section, forgive me, but it belongs in here too, I guess.

    France-plateau12b.jpg France-plateau21b.jpg

    Did someone say "too many goals" ?
    Yes, but what the heck, most probably we live just once, don't we ?

  16. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Nice collection. Well done:)

    I have had as a goal to collect all the emperors. I have decided to lower those ambitions, and skipping the most obscure ones. I would like to achieve Augustus to Valerian, though. I think the list of emperors that wikipedia has set up is achievable and relevant.
    I define an emperor «collected» with a silver coin, or silvered coin. So although I have nice AE coins of Caligula and Claudius, I don’t see my 12 Caesars set complete.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I only have one goal: "Coins I like at prices I can afford." That is, by some definitions too many goals and not enough by others. In my time in the hobby I have passed through too many specialty collections that required me to buy coins that I really did not want. My current goal definition has caused me to have 50 fewer coins than I had this time last year. I should have a second goal to be more careful not to sell coins I thought I did not want but turned out to be wrong.

    To me, goal collecting is unappealing since there are only a few very minor goals that are achievable. Q showed us a couple examples above. However, we need to be vigilant to avoid missing some variations that fit our goals including new discoveries or minor variations. Those are nice Plautilla denarii. Where are the bronzes? Where are the Provincials? Where are the portrait variations that occur with the same reverses? Thinking like this can lead to us buying coins that we really don't want.

    There is one other matter regarding goals: It is possible to complete a set without realizing it. I have a complete set by Legion of the Septimius Severus Legionary denarii (except for one LEG IIII IT from Alexandria which is certainly an error on a die caused by losing count while engraving I's). I suppose I would buy one if it turned up in a junk bin but there are other variations on what I have that I want more. I quite honestly do not know which of the legions was the last I obtained. When you do not collect by a checklist you miss out on such things.
  18. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    Bingo! :singing::singing::singing::singing::singing::singing::singing:

    This also applies to things other than coins...:(:(:(
  19. JulesUK

    JulesUK Well-Known Member

    I am so in awe of that collection and other subsequent posts.
    Bravo. (Hugely envious).
    As for my goals, i am kind of following along the same route as @dougsmit whereby I have a budget and if a coin is appealing enough to me I will bid/ many distractions!
    However, that being said, as new collector, I feel having goals is essential so as to be able to focus down to one or two areas of collection to provide a longer term approach to my hobby, and thereby keep my interest.
    So, goal numero uno is Roman Provincials, preferably with a mythological theme, but not always. I just find them fascinating and somewhat easier to collect than Greek.
    Second is the Zoo family of Gallienus, a definite probability to complete, one day.....
    Next comes Constantine I and related family and offspring ending at Julian II. (More on that in days to come). A big goal i know.
    And a study of the different Roman mints.....long term project.

    Finally, the best goal of all, to keep learning and absorbing the beauty of these pieces of history, these works of art, that we have been entrusted with.
    dlhill132, Carl Wilmont and DonnaML like this.
  20. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    @Cucumbor that Trajan Decius set is remarkable, well done!
    Shea19, Roman Collector and Cucumbor like this.
  21. Cachecoins

    Cachecoins Historia Moneta

    That was my goal when I started. I quickly realized that unless I make a lot more money, it wasn't going to happen. So I just look for, like what was said earlier, ones that talk to me.
    JulesUK likes this.
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