How to Start Collecting Ancient Coins?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Matthew Kruse, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

    @Terence Cheesman said it pretty well!

    To add in, nowdays you get very far by searching the internet. Lots of resources and even books are available for free. I like a book in hand but I think it's more a matter of preference as today you have the luxury to choose.

    As a collector I believe you SHOULD consider buying coins as an investment! Buying the nicest coins you can afford will keep you away from regrets, and will pay dividends every time you look at your collection.

    Most important, have fun!
    DonnaML and Matthew Kruse like this.
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  3. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    Thanks! From what you said about buying ancient coins as an investment, I was just wondering how you would choose one that you would believe would increase in value? I think that the majority of ancient coins would at least retain their value as a hedge against inflation like silver and gold or other collectible coins. Could you please explain?

  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    While this may be true for the most part, many coins have gone down in value for various reasons, one of which is new discovery of hoards (I'm thinking Athenian Owls).
    Curtisimo, BenSi, DonnaML and 5 others like this.
  5. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

    I think the value of most ancient coins have increased over the years. I'm no expert but believe to consider it an investment in the traditional way you need to invest a minimum of 5-10 years plus to get any return. I started to collect again last year after a break of over 20 years and have seen that most coins in my childhood collection have increased in value.

    Highend coins are probably better for investment as they will be easier to sell in the future. It's all a matter of supply and demand. Return can never be guaranteed but I frankly don't believe the coin market will crash either. I consider ancient coins a luxury collectible that are rarely affected by fluctuation in the stockmarket or the economy.

    Most important is that you enjoy what you’re buying and don’t regret it. That alone should be considered an investment and was what I referred to in my previous post. I’m always thinking ahead and if I would like to sell my collection in the future I would like it to be easy to do so, hence why I try to buy specimens that I like and I think would sell.
    DonnaML and Matthew Kruse like this.
  6. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    That makes a lot of sense, I didn't think of that. Thanks! That would be pretty amazing to stumble across an ancient coin hoard metal detecting lol. Too bad there isn't much history like that over in CA.
    DonnaML likes this.
  7. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    Therein lies the rub.

    If you decide to approach ancient coins primarily as an investor rather than a collector, you're in a speculative area (collectibles) as opposed to other markets such as stocks. In the short term, prices for ancient coins can vary wildly and spectacularly, especially if a hoard is discovered (which is infrequent but not necessarily rare). In the medium to long term, your coins may keep pace with inflation, may go up, or may go down. If you really do decide to take this route, spend the money and subscribe to ACSEARCH so that you can research how prices have varied in the last 10 - 20 years.

    If you view yourself primarily as a collector, I think the best advice is always to buy the nicest coins that you can afford. You'll be (1) happier with the coin in the long run, and (2) maximize the possibility that the coin will hold or increase its value, and your return on investment has a chance to break even if/when you decide to sell.
  8. Spargrodan

    Spargrodan Well-Known Member

  9. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    In the current environment, predictions are difficult. Who would have thought the stock market would rise during this pandemic?
    It’s possible that cash is the least popular asset now. That’s good news for me, I seem to never have cash for a long time anyway. The cash mysteriously disappears, and old, useless cash and climbing gear appear magically in its place. I have given up trying to comprehend this transformation.

    I think you got great advice from Ancient Joe and Terrence Cheesham. No surprise there; they have 70-80 years experience between them.
    DonnaML, Matthew Kruse and Spargrodan like this.
  10. Stevearino

    Stevearino Supporter! Supporter

    @Matthew Kruse, I notice your avatar is a nice '21 WLH, and not an ancient coin. Are you a Walker lover? That is probably my favorite series.

    Matthew Kruse likes this.
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    You are too kind. Thank you.

    Buy what you want, want what you buy. I believe 'investment' in coins is a mistake since the only way you get the profit is to sell the coins which I suggested you bought because you wanted them. That means you will only want to sell mistakes and mistakes do not always sell well. If all you want is profit, there are better investments. Some of us can enjoy having a coin for a while and then selling for profit. Others prefer long term relationships.

    Few beginners realize that fact. You do not have to pay ridiculous prices to get many coins. Spend what the coins are worth to you and not what someone else told you that you should do.

    This is a problem. It is easy to get carried away.
  12. John Skelton

    John Skelton Morgan man!

    A very helpful thread. I've already ordered two books that I think will help me identify the coins I'm interested in. When I'm ready to dip into ancients, I hope I'll know what I've got!
  13. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    Yep, Walking Liberty is one of my favorite US coin designs. I don't have any ancient coins yet so I can't really make one my profile pic! ;) (Thats why I made this post, I kinda just wanted to know where to start :))
  14. savitale

    savitale Active Member

    @Matthew Kruse : I feel your pain. I started collecting ancient coins three years ago. In that time I have bought two coins.

    I had collected US coins for about 15 years. The transition is very difficult, I find. There are no price guides, no population reports, no Registry Sets, no Redbook. There's no well-defined set for you to complete. For me, completing sets was what kept me engaged with US coins; there was a goal and I could make measurable progress toward it. With ancient coins it appears you need to make your own goal, or, as most do, be content with having no goal at all.

    So what have I been doing for three years? Trying to figure out what I want to collect. I have learned an incredible amount, not about any one type but about the ancient coin market and community as a whole. Here are the resources I use:

    Forvm Ancient Coins
    Edward J. Waddell
    Shanna Schmidt
    100 Greatest Ancient Coins
    Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins
  15. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    As a true dilettante in ancients, do some reading/looking here and buy what catches your fancy. I wanted to get an Alexanderian Tetradrachm and an Athena Owl, which I succeeded on the cheap (relatively) and now I want a Bee and a Turtle. Will I ever get them...maybe, maybe not, but ENJOY! BTW, as far as a series, I am reminded of those collecting the "Twelve Caesars".
  16. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Freedom is difficult :)
    I have been collecting coins «all over the place» for almost 20 years. I like to think of my collection as «A history of coinage». Like any history book, it will never be complete. I’ve got archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greek coins, Roman republican, imperatorial, imperial and provincial coins, Byzantine, Medieval, Islamic, Oriental coins, European, US and World coins, paper money and a bunch of exonumia. It’s a mess. Every year I remind myself to be more selective, and I’m making small steps towards it, but there are too many great coins to limit myself from.
    You can to a certain extent define your own set of Roman emperors, by using a credible list to follow, for example from The Encyclopedia Britannica:

    I have learned a lot from following auctions, when it comes to identifying types, identifying types I want, and prices. Just as one can not make a price guide or greysheet for the stock market, you can’t make a reliable one for coins either. From any era. One of the advantages of not being tied to a defined set or area, is that you can pass on the coins that are hot at the moment, and buy the coins that no one else wants. If you buy decent quality coins that have an interesting place in history, then chances are good that someone else will find them interesting later.
  17. otlichnik

    otlichnik Well-Known Member

    I think that I am very similar to svessien. I have a main area of collecting - Roman - and several areas of concentration within that. But it seems like I can't resist being dragged into new and diverse areas.

    What? A lot of small Golden Hoard Mongol coins from Crimean Mints for cheap. Why not?

    For the price of a movie, popcorn and large drink (when one could do that sort of thing) I can get a small group of coins from somewhere I know nothing about and spend hours and hours studying and learning.

    What's not to love....

  18. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    I see this coin very frequently when I am looking at ancient coins, so I assume this is what you are talking about? I was looking at @dougsmit website yesterday and I saw a really cool turtle coin on the my favorite coins page. (turtles are my favorite animal so it caught my eye.)
    Stevearino, Kentucky, DonnaML and 4 others like this.
  19. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    If you are leaning towards Greek coins, you can’t go wrong with one of those types. Classic issues. It’s like the Morgan dollar in the US type set. The Athenian owl is easy to come by these days.
    Stevearino and Matthew Kruse like this.
  20. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    I find it impossible to answer that question. Hours of identification, reading, finding documentaries and podcasts about the subject.... Yeah. Impulsivity is underrated in the coin world.
  21. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    We have been trying to identity this guy... Is this you???
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