Featured For beginners who ask "What should I collect?"

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Beginners sometimes ask "What should I collect?" Our members have been generous with good advice and I give links to some relevant old CoinTalk threads below. Actually, I'm not sure a beginner can do much better than to watch CoinTalk threads for a while and get a feeling for what they like.

    However, they might wonder about reference works. I have been assembling pages of sale-catalog references organized by collecting theme for many years. I finally decided to improve those theme pages by including relevant books. To link the themes together I created this web page
    with two goals:
    1) Give beginners an idea of the wide variety of ancient coins and potential collection themes.
    2) List reference works collectors could consult to learn more, or much more, about those themes.

    I hope to improve those reference pages (I solicit your suggestions).

    For example, one theme might be "specific victories":

    Denarius of Marcus Aurelius (AD 141-161-180) citing his Sarmatian victory with "DE SARM" in exergue and the date TRP XXXI = 176/7. A pile of arms from the defeated foe.

    Here are some old threads with advice for beginners:




    Here is one more piece of advice. If you have some idea of what you might collect (maybe by viewing my page, or reading a CoinTalk thread) that you can describe in words, enter those words in the CoinTalk search engine (upper right) and see what has been shown and written using those terms.

    My main page for beginners of "Frequently Asked Questions":
    and my main educational site:
    which has a page of links to other sites.

    I invite you to post your advice for beginners on this thread.
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  3. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Warren, your page on collecting themes is fantastic! I really enjoyed reading it.

    Frankly, I’m not sure a beginner can do better than to thoroughly go through yours and Doug’s sites. They helped me a lot when I was starting out in ancients and continue to do so. The linked CT threads contain tons of excellent advice and insight and are a great resource, too.
    Mikey Zee, GerardV, NLL and 2 others like this.
  4. Gil-galad

    Gil-galad I AM SPARTACUS

    Your website is loaded with information that I have read many times and you have a very good selection of coins for sale as well. One day I will buy a coin from you when my spending budget returns to former levels. For now I'm window shopping, lol.

    Here is what I think but ultimately, each person will develop their own method.

    The great thing about collecting ancient coins is that there are so many things to do and so many regions to collect. At first it may seem confusing and over-whelming about learning and obtaining ancient coins. Once you have just five years experience you will know what to do.

    Information can be obtained in many ways including online websites, literature and books, word of mouth on forums and Facebook type of social communities.

    I started with Roman Imperial for several practical reasons as well as liking the coins a lot to begin with.

    1.) Roman Imperials are the most common and affordable coins.

    2.) Imperials have a Latin letter set and are easier to read in the beginning.

    3.) Learn how to clean ancient coins from lower cost Imperials.

    4.) Imperials are arguably the best documented out of all other regions. So it makes it easier to obtain information.


    Here is another tool that I am using to learn. It started as a mini-gallery and I added other sections to it and it's evolving as I work on it but I'm staying with the plain white look. I have changed the organization several times already.

    Due to the fact that there are so many websites with just about every topic is covered so it's difficult to come up with new original ones. I will add a few more as time goes on. So far it's my gallery and it always helps that I am reading books, websites and other information that helps me learn with each coin added.

    I'm also working on a UNESCO chart for regulations on exporting antiquities. I won't cover everything, anything relevant to ancient coins. Haven't posted it yet.

    For now it's just random subjects, links and a gallery.

  5. NLL

    NLL Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I will look at the websites. Cool looking silver coin @Valentinian .
  6. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Really enjoyed your page and the links you provided. Well done!
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    When Warren and I began posting thoughts on coins in the late 90's (mine was February 1997; I believe Warren was earlier but I did not discover it until later) there was not much online about anything by today's standards. I started with two essays on coins (one Severan and one not Severan) with the intention of replacing them periodically destroying the old ones making the site something of a newspaper with no back issues. Someone asked why I would no just leave up the old ones until I used up my available space so I fell into a pattern of posting a new page every Friday. This was before they started using the term blog and I ordered things by subject rather than date written. Most of those early pages showed a coin and explained why I thought it was interesting. Later I added some larger essays on more general topics.

    Today, even a beginner could start a page like my first one by showing his first coin and telling why he thought it was worth having. There is enough material online now that most coins can be researched with ease and you could even explain where you found the information on your coin. These pages might help some other beginner but the effort would definitely help the person who wrote them. This would be a lot like posting on Coin Talk. We each gain something when we see and help answer beginner questions.

    "What should I collect?" The standard answer is: "Whatever you find appealing." I admit prejudice toward some sections of ancient numismatics over others and you might figure out which ones did not interest me simply by looking at what I did not cover in my first hundred pages. At some point I started broadening my interests just to have something new to post but I never found it necessary to say anything about some collecting specialties. I would be honored f one among you started a set of pages called "Things Warren and Doug skipped over." I have my interests (Severans, Oddball coins, Photography etc.), Warren has his (RIC IX, Books, Imitations etc.) and you still have a thousand other topics that would make a great answer to "What should a beginner collect?"

    We have had many threads here on CT where some of us gave our opinions on what someone else should do with their hobby budget. I most certainly do have strong opinions on things beginners should NOT do (buying fakes from obvious crooks, starting with rarities and ignoring more common great coins etc.) but it really is none of my business if you want to collect what I find boring. Maybe if you start a web page on your passion, I will see the error of my ways and regret not having been interested in that coin decades ago.
  8. Youngcoin

    Youngcoin Everything Collector

    Wow! Great page! This will help a lot of newbies (such as yours truly ;)) just like all of your other pages! I have read a handful of your articles on there about certain emperors and denominations ect, as I have received coins with those denominations and emperors.

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