Ancient coin beginner

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by don oswald, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. don oswald

    don oswald Active Member

    Hi I’m just starting to get in to ancient coins. Does anyone know of any good helpful books for a beginner like me
    I’m open to all suggestions.
    Thank you
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

  5. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

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  6. cwart

    cwart Senior Member

    Not to mention all that can be learned just by reading the ancient coin threads here at CT. You've definitely come to the right place for a beginner. Take it from me, I'm a beginner as well... :)
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  7. Johnnie Black

    Johnnie Black Neither Gentleman Nor Scholar Supporter

    Welcome aboard! Don’t go too fast and enjoy the journey. Lots of great people here can answer your questions. Well, people other than me I’m still a rookie too.
  8. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Hello Don Oswald,

    There is a low cost & informative book called collecting Greek Coins by John Anthony. Here is a link to one on Amazon:

    There is also The Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins: An Official Whitman Guidebook:

    Please post a full resolution photo of your avatar. Is it real & is that your coin? If so, you are a lucky puppy. I've got an 1885 in MS64 and I've only handled two MS in my life. Of course, the proof version is easier to find.

    Sorry , I don't know enough about your posted coin to give an opinion about authenticity, grade or value. I'm learning all the time here at CT.
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  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    When you read the Beginner FAQ page suggessted above by orfew, don't skip the suggestion there that you read the following thread.

    To help a beginner to the best of our ability we need to know more about you than you may be comfortable posting. The advice given to an impoverished high school student who lives in a tiny country in which there may not be a single person who collects ancient coins will be different than that given to someone who just sold his start-up business to Google for two billion dollars and lives walking distance from the greatest coin stores on earth. We don't need specifics but something like "I'm a 73 year old retiree in Virginia who lives on a fixed income and would prefer to buy four $50 coins a month than one $2400 gem a year." We are here to help. Use us but help us help you. Read the suggested links and be as specific as you can about what you want to learn/do/collect first.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
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  10. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter! For the overwhelming majority of those of us will get hooked on ancient coins, it becomes a lifelong passion. Once you get hooked there's no going back.

    There, don't say you were never warned.

    When I was starting out and didn't have a clue about ancient coins, I found this book to be very helpful for a beginner like me. And it's very economical if you buy it via Amazon.

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  11. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Welcome @don oswald . There are no bad questions here. And do not forget what they say in China : if you ask a question it makes you look stupid for 5 minutes – but if you don't ask – you stay stupid for fifty years....
  12. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Some great suggestions given here already! Ancients are dangerous to get in to... they suck you in, and unlike most modern coins, the deeper you go, the more you find. You collect, read, collect, read... and before you know it, you're doing original research and submitting previously unknown types or varieties for publication!

    Most people start with the bronze coins of Constantine and his successors... the "Late Roman Bronze" coins. They are almost infinitely abundant, and can be found for as little as a dollar per coin in something resembling "Good" condition, but as long as you stick to common coins, they don't really go above $50 per coin, even in mint condition. As far as ancient coins go, they are a lot like modern coins - their legends can easily be read, the abbreviations are relatively easy to understand, and they have mnemonic mintmarks, like ANTB = Antioch, 2nd (Beta) mint office. If you like goals, an easy one is to get one coin of each member of the Constantine dynasty - The big guy, his mother and father, his four sons, and his nephews. A full set can be had for under $100 with patience.

    For all newbies to ancients, I strongly suggest that you spend a "trivial" amount (whatever that means to you) and buy some random, inexpensive ancients to see what piques your interest. There is a lot more than just Roman and Greek!
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  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I agree it is most common to start with late Roman bronzes and they are the lesat expensive entry point but there is a lot to see in Greek (bronzes can be cheap, silver is more) and what is often termed 'non-classical' which includes Asian and several states that bordered Roman provinces and often fought with Rome. One collection would be a single coin from each major civilization but few will only get one Greek or one Roman.

    My pages were linked by furryfrog02 back at the start and I am always glad to see anyone read any of them even though some are over 20 years old now. The coins don't change in that little time. I am fond of the overview 8 page series where I try to introduce the vocabulary of ancient coins while showing a variety of coins.

    The only wrong ways to collect ancient coins are the ones that brings you no fun.
  14. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    @don oswald, Welcome. You've seen several links to lots of information and many references to some good books for beginners. I would highly recommend the Spink books by David Sear. When I bought my first ancient coin more than 40 years ago, I bought from a well known established dealer who also sold books so I bought a coin and a book. That book was (Seaby - now published by Spink) Roman Silver Coins Vol. I. In spite of the fact that I have many more advanced and expensive books in my library, I still have that first book and other volumes on Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins by David Sear published by Spink. I still reference these books today.

    I recommend these because they are affordable, relatively comprehensive, well structured as reference books, and although there is not a picture of every coin referenced, the books are well illustrated with representative examples.
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  15. don oswald

    don oswald Active Member

    Thanks for all your suggestions. I’ve found my interest which is in judean coins. Unfortunately they generally don’t come cheap, I’ve already bought the hendin book and I’ve started reading up on them.
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  16. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Judaean coins are actually fairly cheap, compared to focus areas like Greek, Celtic, or early Roman. If you know where to look, you can find great deals on them. Lepta and prutot in particular seem to go almost as cheap as the late bronzes, although they are admittedly usually in horrid condition. I've noticed a lot of Judaean coins coming up at auction houses lately; if you want to get your feet wet and can spare a larger initial investment, I think one of these might be a fun exercise for you:

    From personal experience, Judaean coin prices slump during the summer months and ramp up in the months before Christmas because a lot of people want to buy a "widow's mite" for a Christmas present. I have also seen a lot of nicer individual coins lately; a few months ago I bought two First War prutot in perfectly fine condition for only about $10 each.

    It's the large bronzes and the silvers that will get ya - those do tend to run in the mid to high four figures!
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  17. don oswald

    don oswald Active Member

    Thanks for the link, That’s a fun auction over there I’m keeping my eye on it and hoping to bid!!
  18. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    @don oswald have you purchased any ancients coins or reference materials yet? If you have, I would be interested to see what you got yourself into.
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