How do you start collecting ancients?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Penny Pincher Coins, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    One of the wonderful things about collecting ancient coins is that there is no one prescribed way to proceed :).

    I have no overall theme, instead collecting whatever appeals to me for whatever reason. I do have a few subsets which are more purposeful in their theme, but even with that there is considerable flexibility.

    In general, I gravitate towards coins which are visually appealing (and that doesn't always mean high grade-- it's more about the design and artistry), coins which make me laugh, coins of historical interest, and in some instances coins of historical note which may not be particularly artistic or visually appealing.

    Here's my story :)
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  3. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    i like having coins that tell the story of Ancient Rome and Byzantium from the beginning to the fall. To me this means portraits of every ruler I can find.
    Outside of this theme I'm occasionally tempted by other coins - especially artistic Greek coins. But mostly it's portraits. I also collect the portrait series of the rulers of England.
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My beliefs have already been said well above. I maintain that you should not seek out certain coins but let those coins find you. When you see a coin that 'speaks' to you and stands out from the others much like it, don't let the fact that it was not on your want list bother you. In the beginning, every coin may seem to be speaking to you so you need to learn to separate things you think you should want from things that really do speak your language.

    In addition to promoting my pages, red_spork makes a very useful suggestion about "window shopping". The more coins you experience in whatever way possible, the sooner you will learn to distinguish which coins were meant for you and which you simply can not understand. Here on CT, we have many different 'gameplans' but there is no reason you should approach things my way, red's way, Sallent's way or any other 'right' answer. It is like shoe shopping: Try on many, buy the ones that feel good.

    If you listen to red_spork and visit my pages you will find a jumbled mess of topics. I suggest this series of a half dozen pages a place to start.

    If any particular topic stands out, I probably have other pages in the index that will expand on the subject. If you finish with more than a little confusion at all the options, I believe you are on the right path.
  5. YOC

    YOC Well-Known Member

    I'm like TIF on this one, it's about eye appeal for me. Of course the fact that it's beautiful and ancient is the key for me. Holding history.
    I troll through ebay etc and buy what I can afford that takes my eye.
    PM our good friend John Anthony and ask to be included in his private PM auction, he takes amazing photos and gives background on all coins sold.... it's very very good and you'd be surprised at the grade of ancient you can get for a little money.
    I found a hoard of roman coin's with my metal detector and that got me started!
    To reitterate, if you don't enjoy seeing and holding the coins you buy, then don't buy them. You have to live with them.
  6. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I always loved ancient history, my fav. subject in school. I collect coins from 650BC/ to present.....but have a special affection for ancients/medieval period coinage. Best hobby in world!!!!!


    PS: Off to work so I can afford these gems!
  7. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Have fun ... it's a hobby
  8. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    On Doug's and TIF's points, I identified the coins that "spoke" to me when I was kid, by purchasing a large variety. I tried Chinese cash coins, Australian pre-decimal coins, Spanish cobs, Roman coins, French pre-revolutionary coins of Louis XIV/XV/XVI, English coins from the Middle Ages. I found what fascinated me the most was coins that were very, very old with famous people on them (although Spanish pieces of 8 cobs from shipwrecks were kind of awesome)! In the end, it had to be Roman coins - and English coins which to my eye imitate the Roman portrait style (especially from Elizabeth I onwards). Unfortunately I have finite time and money. There are many collecting themes I'd love to pursue (eg Roman Alexandrian drachma!) but I can't buy everything, and I'm finding collecting the portrait series to be very rewarding- to find the very best portrait I can afford of each emperor! It's awesome!
  9. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Oh, and when you're first starting-out you should always post your targets "before" you pull the trigger (it'll save you time and money and will help you avoid purchasing a fake)
  10. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  11. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    It's a nice book, but it has one problem, 95 or 96 of those 100 coins are unaffordable to mere peasants like most of us here. It's a little bit of a tease to fall in love with one of those coins and then see auction prices of $150,000+ US dollars
  12. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    i disagree. Buy the coin or buy several then buy the book is my motto. Besides, looking at the coins featured in that book will just make you salivate. And, if you are like most of us on a budget of some sort, the coins featured may be just a tad out of reach. Beautiful to look at. Hard to own.
  13. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  14. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    I think most of us would agree that the day we spend $150,000+ on an ancient coin, it better come with a roof, indoors plumbing, and central air conditioning, and a 30 year mortgage attached to it, or at the very least a V-8 engine and a killer paint job. Kind of hard to justify that coin without those extras.:D
    Penny Pincher Coins likes this.
  15. GregH

    GregH Well-Known Member

    There aren't very many people who can spend $150k on a coin. I aspire to be in that league one day.
  16. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I'm well past my prime so the only way for me is to hit the lottery. But since I don't buy lottery tickets, I think the odds are stacked against me more than ordinarily.
    TIF, Carthago and GregH like this.
  17. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you?

    It's a relative. When you become the legal mogul with your own huge law firm in the future, you may be buying more $150,000 coins than you could have ever imagined today. I hope you do!
    Sallent and GregH like this.
  18. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    Thanks, but to be honest, even if I had millions of dollars, I do not see me spending $150,000+ on a single coin. I love numismatics, but there are far more productive ways to use $150,000. At least that's my opinion. I'd sooner give it to charity than sink it on a single coin. To each his own.

    I've always enjoyed giving back as much as I do collecting. Except these days I do it through labor instead of money by giving free legal services on the side to indigent people at the local legal aid society. But if I had that much money to give, I would.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  19. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    For a general info on ancient coins I think its a great book, I own 9 coins of the 100 mentioned and on average I paid $200 for each, except for the owl on page 28. Page 26-28-44-53-55-56-58-60 and 105 ofcause there are many wich are unaffordable for peasants like me.
    But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy and learn from these coins.
    Do you own this book, Sallent ?
  20. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    Yes, I have the book. It was part of the gift I received from my Secret Santa.
    Penny Pincher Coins likes this.
  21. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    For the record, I loved the Berk book. In fact I loved it so much that I borrowed the concept for my page on my 99 1/2 Favorite Coins which showed coins from my collection not worth the $150,000 collectively.
    Still my grouping includes many coins not available to many collectors - not because they were expensive but just because there are so many different ancient coins that some minor variations have no demand (therefore, low price) and even less supply.

    Perhaps what we need is a new book showing not the 100 Greatest but the 100 'significant but realistically obtainable ancient coins'. The EID MAR coin of Brutus is expensive (but not as rare as several others in the book with much lower Greatest ratings) but many more can afford a coin of Caesar and many other really significant Romans. There are thousands of really nice Greek coins that exist in price ranges most can afford that contributed to the economy of their lands and show history at least as interesting as some of the Berk beauties. The Berk book is weak on coins of the East and minor civilizations (on purpose since it is a list of Greek and Roman wonders).

    I suggest we all buy the Berk book unless you are the kind of person who will be troubled by the fact that you will not have a collection quite like it. If you can't go to a car show without selling a kid so you can afford a Lamborghini; If you can't go to the movies without stalking a starlet --- perhaps you should not be allowed to look at 100 Greatest Coins but, for most of us, it comes highly recommended.
    GregH, Andres2, stevex6 and 3 others like this.
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