This was a great year to really narrow down my collecting interests. I used to just buy whatever was cheap, and half-heartedly tried to get a full emperor set. These days, I specialize mainly in late antoniniani and large provincial bronzes. You can find great coins for great prices in these two categories, and I’m happy to stay in this price range. Of course, if I find something that I like, I’ll always get it no matter if it fits into my poorly-enforced “categories.” Here's a super-budget top ten list, with only one coin costing more than $20. In chronological order of acquisition… 1. Northern Song Hui Zong AE 10 Cash, 30mm Jan 12 $10.95 I don’t collect Chinese coins at all, but sometimes something comes by that you have to get. The minerals on this one are really second-to-none. The absolutely beautiful malachite, combined with beautiful crystallized azurite really make this one an eye-popper. 2. Licinius I AE Follis, Siscia, 22mm Apr 3 $5.69 There’s nothing too special about this Licinius, but I absolutely love the interesting portrait. Most Licinius coins have a rather meatheaded-looking bust, but this one is unusually naturalistic. A bit of an uneven strike on the reverse, but I’ve never seen a more detailed victory and eagle on this type of coin. 3. Caracalla AE radiate, Sardes, 25mm May 6 $3.50 Group lots are a great way to get coins for an individually low price. This particular lot had a slew of awesome coins, and I think my favorite was this coin. Although its low grade and unremarkable, the interesting radiate obverse and the good honest wear make this a keeper. I also like the patina contrast, making this a sort of “circ-cam.” 4. Claudius II Plated Antoninianus, 20mm May 28 $8.67 Claudius II coins exist in extraordinary abundance, but it’s very, very difficult to find them with any level of silvering/plating intact, let alone a coin with about 90% of it left! This coin looks virtually as-struck, and retains so much of the original plating that it is easy to see just how attractive these coins would have looked back in the day. Although the silver content was so low, any consumer using these extremely shiny coins would probably have overlooked the lack of silver and appreciate the abundance of shine. 5. Gallienus Billon Antoninianus, Antioch, 21mm May 28 $8.67 There are about a million different reverses for Gallienus, and it’s always fun to find one that really speaks to you. I always liked the pose where somebody is standing with their foot on something – a stool, an omphalos, a captive… This one features Neptune with foot on the prow of a ship, which is super cool. The blue-green malachite(?) encrustations on the reverse really fit with the ocean theme of the coin, and the VIIC in exergue is interesting. The coin is also heavy, and has what seems to be a rather decent level of silver to boot. 6. Quintillus Billon Antoninianus, 21x18mm Jun 21 $8.67 There are a few cool features on this coin. First and foremost is the rather beautiful, delicate blue toning around the portrait. The good strike and high grade let you see Quintillus’s curls and barbarian moustache in great detail. I especially like the abstract nature of the reverse figure, with a line-drawing style that reminds me of reverses of Postumus. 7. Hadrian AE As, 27mm Jul 8 $12.87 This is just a regular old Hadrian as, but what makes it special to me is the lovely, dark green patina. The streaks in the green look very much line veined green marble, and especially like the serpentine stone that was very commonly used in opus sectile floors and walls in Roman buildings. 8. Maximinus II AE ¼ follis, Antioch, 15mm Jul 8 $8.98 Apollo isn’t very well represented on coins, so it's always nice to see one in such great price (from a group lot, of course) and the very high state of preservation make this one a real winner. The sand patina highlights give the coin a sort of cameo appearance, and despite the small size this one is really impressive. 9. Philip I AE octassarion, Antioch, 30mm Jul 29 $42.08 The second I saw this coin I knew it would be on my top ten list of the year. I love the strong strike and great details. While some may see the environmental damage as a major defect, I actually like it more because of it. The crescent-shaped areas of damage indicate that this coin was submerged in what was likely a saltwater environment. The reverse may have been buried in sand, while the obverse had another coin laying on it in such a way to exposure just that sliver on the left to the environment. I think this damage tells a more interesting story than an otherwise undamaged specimen. 10. Postumus Silvered Antoninianus, Cologne, 21mm. Nov 23 $8.67 I always like Postumus coins as the silver is usually relatively good, and the reverse have this lovely abstract style where everybody has spaghetti-arms. Here, Hercules has my favorite Stretch Armstrong limbs. He also has not one, but three things in hand: a club, a bow, and a cloak, reminding me of when I try to carry all the groceries from the car in one go. And that’s it! I made some purchases in the second half of the year, but for some reason all of my top picks were centered around a couple good buying sprees. Here’s to another great year of collecting, and see you all in 2022.