Collecting with a theme (or themes)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by jamesicus, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Some collectors here appear to steadfastly adhere to a singular collecting theme. Others are generalists who maintain a diverse collection of Ancient coins. Yet others maintain a main emphasis collection and one or more side collections. What is your way of collecting Ancient coins?
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Generalist/Drifter. I weave in and out of various areas of ancients. I do focus mainly on Roman Tetradrachms, but I will weave into Parthian, then maybe Byzantine, then a few Roman Imperials.

    I also weave out of ancients & go into Medieval and World Moderns. I love both equally.

    It really depends on $ & what is available in my budget for the week or month.
  4. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    My collecting themes have changed over the years, due mainly because of my ever expanding numismatic palette. Here are the four main stages I've gone through during my sixteen years of collecting:

    1. Flavian denarii.
    2. Flavian imperial silver.
    3. Flavian imperial and provincial silver.
    4. All imperial and provincial Flavian coinage.

    Each stage was a major leap forward. The last/current one will keep me busy for several lifetimes!
  5. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I started off collecting Roman Imperial coins - mostly Julio-Claudian asses, dupondii and sestertii. Later I added some denarii and a (very) few aurei.

    Eventually I added a side collection of Tetrarchic coins and much later another side collection of coins of the English Civil War Kings.

    I have now broken up the Tetrarchic coin side collection and English Civil War side collection and have ended up with two main Roman Imperial coin collections: Julio-Claudian coins and coins with Romano-Britannic associations. There are several cross-over coins.

    My emphasis is on coins with important (to me) historical association rather than condition and appearance.
  6. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    I am a generalist. Sub-collections or themes have popped up in my collection but those are just guided by my interest at the time.
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

    My initial goal is a coin of every emperor (and usurpers when available) as well significant family members who issued coinage. I don't really stick with themes however I seem to be focusing on the Roman coinage of Alexandria because of the interesting reverse types. For example, Triptolemus pulling a chariot, Triumphal arches, Canopic jar depictions, and so on.

    I would love to get my hands on a drachm depicting the zodiac, but I have yet to find one even at a semi-reasonable price. Since I've visited the site of Antinoopolis (modern Sheikh-el-Bada), I am keen to get a drachm of Antinous as well. Since I don't have one I'll share a relatively common type of Hadrian.

    Egypt, Alexandria - Hadrian. (117-138)
    Year 127-128

    Type: AE Drachm, 32mm 24.42 grams

    Obverse: AVT KAI TPAI AAPIA CEB, Laureate draped and cuirassed bust right

    Reverse: LDW (delta) EK in exergue, Nilos reclining left upon a crocodile, holding cornucopia and reed, Genius emerging from the cornucopia and pointing at letters IS in upper field

    Reference: Milne 1269


  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    At present, I am firmly in the "generalist" camp and my holdings in ancients are such a relatively small subset of the rest of my (also-small) collection that I can really only claim to be a mere dabbler.

    In the past, however, I followed the "one per emperor/empress" theme in Romans as far as I could (ended up with over 100 different faces in that portrait gallery), and later, I completed a mixed bronze and silver set along the popular "Twelve Caesars" theme.

    *The first collection did not include all Twelve Caesars because it was an "A-to-Z" (Augustus to Zeno) collection, and thus lacked Julius Caesar.
  9. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Well-Known Member

    I collect abit of everything I buy what I like the look of or a coin that has a good story behind it
  10. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    I definitely focus on Falling Horseman, but also like the generally collect various ancients.
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My favorite college professor once told me that a proper goal in life is to know a little about everything and everything about a little. Neither of these goals is achievable any more than you can count all the way to infinity or chill something to absolute zero but there is nothing wrong with setting our goals as approachables rather than achievables and never expecting to finish. There is no failure when there is no finish line.

    In coins, I translate this to mean I should collect a coin or two of many descriptions and as many coins as I can from my specialties. I cheat and refuse to buy anything that I find completely boring or priced so high that I would have to compromise my collections in more desired areas. I do not collect modern coins (I have a few but most have been with me for 50 years when I still found them interesting). I do not collect popular 'rarities' in high grades (Biblical, Caesar portraits, gold unless it has something going for it other than being gold). I do collect anything that speaks to me saying, "Buy me, please." The number one thing on my want list is any interesting coin that I did not previously know to exist but that I believe I should have known had I not been too blind to see it before.

    My specialties:

    1. Coins of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna 193-195 Eastern mints (including unofficial)

    2. Coins of Septimius Severus 193 Rome

    3. Alexandrian

    4. Technically interesting, odd or weird coins including but not limited to errors (only ancient/medieval)

    5. Coins that I never expected to see but somehow got lucky

    I have posted each of these here so many times that I must apologize for showing them again. Groups 1 through 4 are represented in my collection by 50-1000 coins. Group 5 is much less frequent but very special to me. All together the five groups make up about half of my coins with the other half being 'general' and 'asked nicely' types. When I get between 50 and 100 coins in an area, I ask myself if it is time to declare a new specialty or to back off saying 'enough'. My interest in late Roman has been falling off to the point that I have sold or given away some that I once would have kept. It lost its status as a 'specialty' but several LR coins are still included in other specialties.
  12. Pishpash

    Pishpash Mater dracones - spero Supporter

    If a coin appeals to me and I can afford it, I get it. If it has a story behind it, so much the better. My budget is smaller than it once was. I recently splashed out on my most expensive coin, a gold celtic stater for 1,200 GBP, this was due to an insurance policy that matured. Husband bought a bike! I had always wanted one, and why not. I have only been collecting for about 6 years, if I had decades behind me, things may have been different.

    I have had the BEST six years :D
    Theodosius, Paul M., Spaniard and 7 others like this.
  13. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    When I started collecting I was basically buying everything I liked. Now I figured out what kind of area's/kingdoms I prefer. I have a couple of themes, which are coins from the region of Epeiros, coins from the Greek islands and coins from the Seleukid empire. And some smaller themes like coins from the reign of Mithridates VI of Pontos and all Byzantine anonymous follis types.

    But on the end, I always stick to: "If I really like it, I buy it" (or atleast I try to buy it :D).
  14. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    I started out as a generalist, collecting anything Greek or Roman:

    Istros Drachm (1) (1).jpg

    Then I veered off and started to collect Islamic medieval coinage:

    Umayyads of Spain AR Dirhem (Hisham II).jpg

    Then I flirted with Indian ancient and medieval coinage:

    Gandhara, Taxili AR Satamana.jpg

    and once I grew bored with all that, I even dabbled in medieval European coinage:

    Sancho IV El Bravo AR Coronado.jpg

    But eventually I drifted away from medieval coinage altogether and started collecting ancient Chinese coinage:


    But these days I'm back to collecting only ancient Greek and Roman coinage...and I'm a generalist in those two areas. With a Max cap of 200 coins for my collection, as a generalist I doubt my Greek and Roman collection will ever be considered "coherent" by specialists, but I just buy and collect what I like and that's all that really matters to me...

    91481q00 (1).jpg 89781q00 (1).jpg
  15. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I collect Roman coins, primarily imperial and provincial, primarily of the principate. That doesn't mean I don't have a few republican coins or coins of the dominate. I collect silver and bronze coins -- no gold for budgetary reasons -- and I'll acquire just about any coin of the principate if it strikes my fancy. I do have some areas of interest:

    The Faustinas:

    Faustina Sr PIETAS AVG altar denarius veiled bust.jpg

    Faustina Jr MATRI MAGNAE Sestertius 2.jpg

    Coins with Venus:

    Mamaea VENVS GENETRIX sestertius sunlight.jpg

    Domna VENER VICTOR Emesa denarius.jpg

    Trebonianus Gallus and Volusian:

    Trebonianus Gallus FELICITAS PVBL antoninianus Mediolanum.jpg

    Volusian FELICITAS PVBLICA sestertius.jpg

    Gallienus (especially the zoo):

    Gallienus LIBERO P CONS AVG tiger antoninianus.jpg

    Gallienus NEPTVNO CONS AVG Antoninianus.jpg

    Confronted busts on provincial coins:

    Macrinus and Diadumenian Marcianopolis Athena.jpg

    Gordian III and Tranquillina Tomis Hygeia 2 Savoca.jpg
  16. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?

    Robert Browning
    Paul M., Spaniard, jamesicus and 3 others like this.
  17. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Oh, but I do have one side collection that I just started - The Restoration coinage of Titus - and I just made the following example one of my “Twenty”.

    (27mm, 10.71 gm)
    BMCRE Volume II, Rome, Titus No. 273-275
    RIC Volume II, Part 1 (second edition), Titus, No. 462
    Obverse depiction: Augustus, radiate head facing left
    Inscription: DIVVS AV GVSTVS PATER
    Reverse depiction: Eagle with wings spread standing on Globe
    Inscription: IMP T CAES AVG RESTITVIT - S C (above, left and right)

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    Paul M., chrsmat71, Curtisimo and 7 others like this.
  18. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Really interesting to see the different focal areas of the collectors here...Quite diverse!.....And some great coins...
    I suppose I'm similar to @Mat a bit of everything except I own 'Zero Greek'... at the moment...And as @dougsmit said if something catches my eye I go for it..Usually abstract portraits...
    My main set, if you want to call it that, is the Kashmir series where now I'm beginning to expand into the Muslim take over although coins not photographed yet...@jamesicus super web page...

    Paul M., chrsmat71, randygeki and 6 others like this.
  19. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter


    Too many to attached where they can be easily seen, but here are a couple of them:
    Marcus Antonius CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM.jpg Marcus Antonius Chortivm Praetoria.jpg Marcus Antonius Leg XVII Classicae.jpg Marcus Antonius Leg XVIII Lybicae.jpg
  20. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Bing...Wow what a set! ....I don't know this series well, hence the question...Why is there a space between the 2 Legio III coins? Are there different variants?
  21. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    That is Legio III and Legio IIII. The space was purely for aesthetics. Those that know this series of coins can see that there are a couple missing from the set. But they are either so rare I will never acquire one, or fantasy of some collectors imagination.
    Spaniard likes this.
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