Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Everett Guy, Oct 19, 2020.
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@Suarez webpage showing their collection. Hopefully they won't mind.
It's my understanding that completing the task of collecting an entire set of RIC coinage is an almost impossible task. According to the page, it states that a collector from the 1800s was said to have accomplished it, but it's not clear if that is an 'urban myth'. Perhaps others here could expound.
Anyhow, this link is not only neat in that it shows a private collection from a member here(which includes a few rarities), it is also a cool resource to utilize as a base list for one looking to achieve the monumental task.
or Julia, daughter of Augustus
I compiled a list for myself, beyond the Album, and found that there are approx 221 or more Roman Personalities that I have found for Ancient Coins. I have approx 145, maybe 150+ of them.
Thanks, @shanxi , I like that moniker “Roman Personalities”. I was using “Rulers”, but yours is much better.
...Hey! I want a Julia, daughter of Augustus!
It gets more expensive when you get past collecting approx 100 of them.
Agreed on Collecting Personalities on Provincial coins. I am collecting the HISTORY, not the fact that they are restricted to Imperial coins.
RI Poppea-Nero BI tetradrachm of Alexandria LI yr10 63-64 CE Milne 217 RPC 5275
Throwing RPC into the mix adds a whole new can of worms.
I would be interested to know how many 'portrait' coins of personalities exist only in RPC.
If it were me starting out(oh, wait I am).. I would focus primarily on the first few dynasties -- which includes the most well-known historical figures (Julio/Claudian, Flavian, Antonine, Severan, and perhaps some from the later Tetrarchy/Constantine) before I would be looking at some of the more obscure persons.
I mean it would be cool to own a beat up version of Jotapian or Pacatian, but for my personal budget, the costs of acquiring one of those would also purchase some nice coins of rulers that a layman might actually have heard of.
It's missing every western Emperor after Valentinian III. Yes those people mostly reigned for a short time and their coins are very rare and expensive but they do exist.
They've also made arbitrary decisions about which usurpers to include. How do you include Domitius Domitianus, who was recognized by no one else, but not include Valerius Valens or Martinian, who were at least recognized by Licinius?
Personally, I think trying to collect every emperor would just involve you in wild price wars for coins of short-lived usurpers. If you want to go down that road you would have to embrace the journey rather than the destination.
here, basically an online version of RIC, the standard catalogue for Roman Imperial coins) currently has 40786 different entries. I'm sure there are a few additional types they didn't record, and we won't even speak of Roman Republican or provincial coinage.
In a nutshell, no collector has a complete "set" of Roman Imperial coins. The British Museum in London, the Bode Museum in Berlin, the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, and a couple of similar institutions probably come closest, but even they have significant holes in their collections.
The Littleton list is based on the assumption that collectors will search for one coin per ruler. Many of us in fact do so, but this is far from the only way to collect Roman coins.
Also, the rarity ratings on your list are far from reliable. You can, for example, easily get an attractive Trebonianus Gallus (rated ***) for about $30, while a comparably nice Livia (rated **) can cost you about as much as a used Toyota Prius. Also, while the list of emperors is relatively complete (at least until the very late empire), many of the less well known empresses are missing, e.g. Plotina, Orbiana, Magnia Urbica, etc.
My experience over the decades is that most people who set out to get a complete set either give up or change their definition of 'complete' to mean the coins they want to have.
It would not be hard to get a set of significant rulers who were around for a few years and made a significant mark on history assuming you define those categories correctly. I personally have no use for that kind of collection and feel no pressure to own a coin by rulers of no interest or to limit myself to a single coin of the rulers I want. For the price of one coin of the ten most rare rulers you could have 100 coins of each of the ten most common and significant emperors. Or you can be like some of us and have 500 of one favorite ruler and not a single coin of people or periods that bore you. The concept of a complete set is not really workable in ancients unless you redefine 'complete' to fit.
I checked a few I wondered if they had and found at least a dozen coins that have been shown here on Coin Talk that did not make their list. I would not be at all surprised if the true number was double the quoted 40k. When we hear about a coin being 'unknown' we have to ask 'unknown to whom????'.
For those who are curious, the choke point for a complete set of bona fide emperors is Olybrius, who IIRC is known from only 12 coins, only a few of which are in private hands.
I like the Wildwinds Chronological list - it is very complete, but it is missing a few entries who are essentially impossible to collect.
I ran into the problem of running out of affordable Roman coins (I still haven't spent over $1,000 on any individual coin, and only own a few over $500). My solution was to challenge myself by collecting by title, specifically:
As Caesar, or heir apparent to the living Augustus
And posthumous, whether specifically a consecration issue, or not.
This has led to some unique challenges and has driven me to not only learn a lot about Roman history, but also to seek out some particularly rare coins that not many would appreciate. Some favorites:
Caligula, issued as Caesar under Tiberius - Only from Carthago Nova in Spain, and only a couple hundred specimens known across 3 denominations of the same series
Divus Hadrian - The entire reason that Antoninus got the honorific "Pius" (the emission was small, as Hadrian was quite unpopular when he died)
Gordian III as Caesar under Pupienus and Balbinus
Divus Victorinus - particularly surprising given how and why he died!
Constantine as "Filius Augustorum" or "Son of the Emperors" - Minted by Galerius to try to give him a participation ribbon after Diocletian told him to stand down and relinquish claims to the purple
Maxentius as Caesar - minted only at Carthage, only for a few months for uncertain reasons, as Maxentius usurped imperial power directly without ever holding the title of Caesar!
A couple of years ago I had actually put together a spreadsheet to act as a checklist for this collecting approach - I need to figure out the best way to get it hosted for others to use and improve on it.
People who exist on Imperial coinage, albeit expensively:
Julia the Elder, daughter of Augustus
Britannicus Caesar, son of Claudius
Agrippina II, wife of Claudius and mother of Nero
Tranquillina, wife of Gordian III
You have to go provincial if you want:
Tiberius Gemellus, son of Drusus and grandson of Tiberius
Octavia, 1st wife of Nero
Poppaea, 2nd wife of Nero
These people weren't even in the dynasty, but were Roman, appear on coinage, and were important to history
Vedius Pollio, prominent aristocrat, governor of Asia briefly, and best known for attempting to have a slave eaten alive by hungry eels over a broken cup
Asinius Gallus, friend of Augustus and best known as the nemesis of Tiberius, who married Livilla, mocked Tiberius as he was publicly inheriting the Principate, and ended up starving to death in a prison cell
And while we're on the subject, what's the point of seeking out people like Gordian I and II if you don't even have people like Mark Antony?
Nice collection of sestertii. It's great that you have Gordian I and II as well.
The list certainly grows with each time I think I found the master list..lol. there sure is alot of them. I am finally getting to know about the different categories thou.
I LOVE the cutoff at 200 CE!!! Though, there are some big hitters up to Julian ii for me.
Caracalla the reason you stop at 200?
..what he meant was he meant to
Basically, the Death of the Roman Denarius. And, I really like the Roman Republic and the Empire it created. The Republic was an expanding Empire for 200 years prior to Augustus. After approx 200 CE, the Empire tapers off, no real growth, etc. Trajan was the Zenith of the Empire.
RI AE As Trajan CE 98-117 26mm 11.0g Rome Laureate Draped - SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS Victory R wreath palm S-C RIC 675
Separate names with a comma.