Does an Emperor type set make sense?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Gam3rBlake, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    I don’t mean what I mentioned before about trying to collect all the Emperors.

    That was my original goal..

    Until I saw how much a denarius of Caligula costs and realized I would never achieve it so I wanted to pick something else to collect.

    What I mean is a set of coinage from one Emperor.

    For example:

    A quadrans of Marcus Aurelius
    A semis of Marcus Aurelius
    An as of Marcus Aurelius
    A dupondius of Marcus Aurelius
    A sestertius of Marcus Aurelius
    A denarius of Marcus Aurelius
    & An aureus of Marcus Aurelius.

    I might be missing some like the quinarius (1/2 a denarius) & other fractions of the as like the uncia (1/12th of an as) but I’m not sure if they were made during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.

    Does that make sense? Or rather does that count as a collection?
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
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  3. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Collect what you like. The only valid question is does it make sense to you ?

    dougsmit, ultprice, Magnus87 and 7 others like this.
  4. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    Yeah it makes sense to me since it’s collecting the coinage of an Emperor.

    I’m just wondering if it’s something others have done or if it’s not something people tend to do.
  5. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    100% agree- collect whatever you like.
    But don't expect to find ALL denominations for all the emperors.
    Not all of them issued quadrantes. And uncia, if I'm not mistaking, was briefly revived under Hadrian and that's it.

    Now my personal advice for you - collect what you like, exactly what @Cucumbor said. Would you like to specialize on a dynasty or a period, like some CT members here? go for it. Do you like a certain emperor? read all about him, his reign, his relatives and buy the coins.
    And study and get the coins you like.

    Collecting ancient coins, especially as a beginner, is not as stiff as collecting modern coins, when defining an area of interest. When I started it, I wanted to learn as much as I can about 1st and 2nd century AD Roman coins. Branched out a little as I stopped being afraid of Greek coins. And also started to like provincials.

    So my personal goals are
    - 1st/2nd/3rd century RIC and Provincials
    - trying to complete 3 sets of 12 Caesars, 1 in bronze Imperial, 1 in silver Imperial, 1 in provincials (and most likely this is not going to happen)
    - coins with empresses
    - Greek coins with designs I like - mythological scenes and animals

    What are your goals? Find out what you like and invest money and time in that direction.
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  6. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
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  7. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter


    Oh yeah I meant I was going to stick with one Emperor. I definitely could never get them all.

    I couldn’t even get a denarius for them all which I why I’m thinking of switching.

    My favorite Emperor is Marcus Aurelius and I already have his denarius so I was going to try to get the rest of his coinage.

    When that’s done maybe I could aim for all the different denomination coinage of the “Five Good Emperors”.
  8. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    I don’t know if those were minted during Aurelius’s reign.

    If so certain rare coins like that are 5 digits and I just couldn’t fork over that kind of money.

    At the moment my limit is about $3K-$5K on a coin. But so far the most I’ve paid for a coin is $1500 (for my MS Athenian Owl and my F-12 1799 US silver dollar because I collect US coins too.) so it’s not something I could do frequently. Maybe once a year.

    My dream is to own a gold aureus one day.

    I have a winning bid on this Hadrian aureus but in the end I’ll probably lose the auction.

    But I don’t make much money so I can’t be forking over like $10,000+ for a coin.

    Id like to collect ancient Roman coins in a way where I can get several nice $1.5K to $3K coins and then have the rest be $200-$500 coins or less.

    Im also not a big fan of the copper/brass/orchicalcum coinage so it limits my options.

    I prefer gold & silver coinage. I know some people love the copper/brass/orchicalcum stuff and I understand why but it’s just not for me. Everybody likes different stuff ya know?
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  9. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    The two links are for Marcus Aurelius. The Quinar is for Marcus Aurelius as Augsutus, The Quinar Aureus for MA as Caesar, but there are also examples for MA as Augustus, see e.g.:
    Gam3rBlake and ambr0zie like this.
  10. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    What Cucumbor said.

    Perhaps a set of books about ancient coins would fit into the collection too? That way you would easily be able to find out which types were issued by different emperors.
  11. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Nobody will stop you from collecting 1 emperor coins, it's your decision, but you are limiting yourself and you lose the fun.
    What about Faustina II, his wife? her coins are also a large playground.
    When I started I had a thought to specialize on Trajan coins, but limiting to only 1 emperor is not enough for me. Everybody can chose a certain path.
  12. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Same here! Also Trajan. But as you say, it’s too much of a limit.

    A part of my collection is organized as «Roman types», with different type coins from 210 BC to the end of the 5th century. That provides an overview of the development of the monetary system. I like type collecting.
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  13. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    I actually do have one book about ancient coins but it’s just Roman coins.

    But considering Roman coins are the ancient coins I like the most I guess it counts xD. I do like Ancient Greek coins too but most of my ancients are Roman.

  14. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I understand the urge to collect a "set" of something. But the joy of ancient coins is that you can define your set any way you want to and you don't feel constrained by the need to pick up a "key date" or such. You can define your collection any way you like so you'll be able to work within your budget and time goals.

    I have collected many "sets" of things over the years and some I was able to complete quickly and others will provide me with years of enjoyment in the search.

    For example, here are some of the sets I have done or are working on:

    Collecting the 12 Dii Consentes
    All the gods and goddesses of the "Roman world"
    Acquiring a CONSTANTINOPOLI(S)/Victory on prow from each mint
    An VRBS ROMA/Lupa Romana from each mint
    Different kinds of animals pulling chariots
    A coin from each of Mary Beard's "Fourteen Emperors"
    One from each officina at the Rome mint struck by Gallienus
    All of the personifications used on the reverses of Roman imperial coins
    The zoo coins of Gallienus
    One of each member of the various tetrarchies
    Each member of Constantine's extended family
    Each member of the Antonine dynasty
    Each member of the Severan dynasty
    Each member of Valerian I's family
    Dual portrait coins of Gordian III and Tranquillina
    All the procurators of Judea
    The seven cities of Asia as mentioned in Revelation 1:11
    Julia Mamaea silver and bronze
    Faustina I and II silver and bronze
    Julia Domna silver
    The antoniniani of Trebonianus Gallus and Volusian
    The various reverse types of Nerva denarii


    You can work on sets sequentially or simultaneously and you can include whatever coins you can afford (I typically spend < $100 a coin).

    Can't afford a Caligula denarius? Get a provincial coin! And congratulations, you also received a Pegasus to add to your "mythological creatures" collection!

    Caligula Corith Pegasus.jpg
  15. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Bless her, she included all three Flavian emperors.
  16. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    But who could stop at just one of each, right? ;)
  17. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    Holy smokes you collect a ton of stuff! o_O

    I’m just worried my collection is becoming an “accumulation” rather than a collection.

    Things get even more complicated when I factor in that I collect pre-WW2 US coins.

    I saw photos of a collection on a different forum and the guy who shared them collected “ancient coins with lions & eagles on them”.

    It was incredible!! O_O

    Seeing all those shiny silver & gold coins with different styles of lions & eagles on them was breathtaking.

    I want my collection to be like that where there is a theme. I guess the hard part is trying to come up with a theme that includes the stuff I like.

    But I’m not really a fan of the copper/brass/orichalcum coinage. I know some people are and I understand why they like them but they just don’t appeal to my own personal taste.

    Mostly because without my glasses it’s hard to see the designs after they tone all dark (like this one) and then some of them start turning green.


    I’ve just always liked silver, and (when I can afford it) gold coinage. Even when I first started collecting US coinage before I collected ancients I always liked the silver coins like the Morgan Dollar (of course!), Seated Liberty coinage and Barber coinage.

    I never really got into the Lincoln Cents.

    But I guess it’s kind of like music. Everyone likes their own thing but none of them are “wrong” per se. Just different.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  18. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    Any reason(s) in particular that you like the Flavian dynasty?
  19. Gam3rBlake

    Gam3rBlake Supporter! Supporter

    That’s actually pretty interesting because I had a very similar idea when I bought my quadrigatus. I was going to aim for a victoriatus after that and then a Republican denarius as a sort of theme showing Roman silver coinage over time.

    I was going to start with the early didrachms (like the one with a horse head on the obverse and stalk of wheat on the reverse), then the quadrigatus, then the victoriatus, followed by good sized, high purity denarii (Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius etc.,) from the early Empire and then some smaller and less pure denarii from the middle Empire (Septimius Severus, Caracella etc.,) followed finally by some antoniani (Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus etc.,) showing the debasement in the denarius and antoninianus as they got smaller and less pure until the reforms of Aurelian.
  20. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    The Jewish War, Year of the Four Emperors, the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, Masada, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the opening games of the Colosseum, 80 AD fire of Rome, Domitian's Chattian war, Mons Graupius, the Secular Games, and Domitian's massive building projects.

    And of course, the coins. The classic era of imperial coinage begins here.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  21. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Well, I've been doing it for 35 years or so.
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